“Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." (Matt. 18:21-22)
We can keep in mind the parable of the unmerciful servant, (Matt. 18:21-35) to remind us not only how much we have been forgiven by God, but that this forgiveness comes with a requirement from us, to have a forgiving spirit.
We are to, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Col 3:13). “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Eph. 4:32)
Like losing sight of a ship sailing off over the horizon, we need to lose sight of our grudges. Leave everything to God who, unlike us, can do something about everything. Cast all your burdens on God and don't try to pick them up again by holding a grudge.
This does not come easily or naturally from us. We need God’s help. We need to cooperate with God and cultivate a persistent, daily, conscious habit of just dropping whatever it is that offends us or hurts us and giving it over to God.
To truly love someone, we need to choose to love them. Likewise, we also need to choose to forgive.
A good rule of thumb when trying to give something up is to replace it with something else. So, if you are trying to give up coffee, replace it with water. If you are trying to give up spending too much time on a device like your phone, replace it with playing games or spending uninterrupted time with your children. Replace spending frivolously with saving for a purpose. That sort of thing.
Likewise, if you need to give up holding that grudge, replace it with something else, maybe like being intentionally kind or compassionate to that person or just anyone. Just do something nice for someone (Eph4.32). You have nothing to lose, and you will feel much better.
Photo and reflection by Craig Manners