How Hard is it to Forgive?

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“Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

Luke 17:3-4

Revenge is natural. Forgiveness is supernatural. One day, the apostle Peter had asked Jesus how often he should forgive a brother who sins against him. Peter questioned whether he should forgive him as many as up to seven times. But Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” Matthew 18:22. By saying we are to forgive seventy times seven, Jesus was not actually limiting forgiveness to 490 times; He was implying that Christians with forgiving hearts do not place a limit on the number of times they forgive. They should continue to forgive with as much grace the five-hundredth or more time as they do the first time. You see, forgiveness is the work of the Holy Spirit. We are only capable of having this type of forgiving spirit because the Spirit of God lives within us, and it is He who provides the ability to offer forgiveness over and over again, just as God continually forgives us. So if we are unforgiving, if we are bitter, if we have resentment, if we are talking about people and wanting to get even, then it’s a sign that the Spirit of the Living God is not doing the work in our hearts. There may even be unconfessed sin lurking about, and so now we are quenching the Spirit when God wants us to forgive. The Bible says that if we don’t forgive, then God can’t forgive us. Are you willing to forgive? Seven times? How about seven times seventy? The number is not important, but the willingness of our heart is. God, give us a willing heart.