Finding the Strength to Forgive

Finding the Strength to Forgive                                         October 31, 2021

“Be on your guard!  If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.  And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” (Luke 17:3-4)

When someone close to you (likely referring to your Jewish brother in the verse above) does you harm (verbally or physically – sins against you) it’s hard to forget.  Whenever you see them again, you remember how they harmed you and you tend to avoid them.  Perhaps you remember times like this in your life and the hurt feelings you had because of them.

Well, Jesus warns His disciples against dwelling on the hurt and instead, be dwelling on the possibilities of reconciliation.  Jesus is all about reconciliation.  He died to his self (personal hurt feelings) in order to bring all human beings back to God (Romans 5:18-19).

The injured individual is the one that needs to ready to forgive anyone who sins against him when they ask for forgiveness.  In fact, they are always to forgive as many times as is necessary in a 24 hour period.  Why?  Because that kind of forgiveness is equal to the kind God makes available to all His people on a daily basis.

Be on your guard!  If you’re unwilling to forgive others then God will not forgive you (Matthew 6:14-15).  So, don’t forget that those who claim to follow God should be in the forgiving business as He is.  Rebuke, in love, the one who sins against you but be ready to forgive them when they ask for it!  The strength to forgive does not lie within ourselves but only in the One who extends forgiveness to the whole world (Luke 23:34).  The apostle Paul says, “I can do all things (even forgive others) through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).  Relationships are always stronger when individuals  are willing to forgive one another.

Brian Thompson