16 Mar Reconciliation & Forgiveness
So often reconciliation involves me forgiving someone who has “wronged” me. Whether the wrong was real or imagined, I am still called to forgive. In Matthew 18:21-22 JESUS makes clear that we are to be people who forgive if we are to be HIS followers. I don’t forgive seven times, but seventy times seven times. This is unbelievable.
Surely JESUS miscalculated when HE told Peter that this was the expectation. Have you not read the truth found in the old saying “If a dog bites you once, shame on the dog, if the dog bites you twice, shame on you?” JESUS, surely YOU are not asking me to forgive when the same offense is committed over and over again. YOU are not asking me to swallow my pride and give up my dignity and humbly forgive someone who really cannot be asking for forgiveness because he keeps doing the same thing to me. These verses and expectations must not mean this. But the wisdom from JESUS is different. HE makes clear HIS expectation for us, but we twist and manipulate it so that we justify our unforgiveness and the lack of reconciliation that results.
Yet, the wisdom from above is so different from what the world has to offer. The world says ‘I have worked all night and I have caught no fish.’ But JESUS says “let down your nets one more time,” Luke 5:5. The world says ‘don’t get mad get even.’ But JESUS says “forgive and love your neighbors.” The world says ‘never give a sucker a break.’ But JESUS says “I have come that they (all of the suckers of the world) may have life and have it to the full.”
So how often will I forgive and thereby be reconciled with my brother? Seventy times seven or some lesser number?