March 9th

A Hard Teaching

“How often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.” —Matthew 18:21-22

I know a 73 year old woman who decided to give up her grudges for Lent. She said she had nursed a couple of them for decades but realized that she finally wanted to be free of them. She figured Lent was as good a time as any to practice forgiveness. She made that the focus of her Lenten prayer and repeatedly asked God to relieve her from the ill-will, resentment, an­ger, and bitterness she experienced when she thought of particular people. Come Easter Day, she truly felt free from any lingering hurt from the oth­ers in her life. She told me she learned the truth of Jesus’ pointforgiving someone seven times isn’t always enough. It’s not a “one-and-done” or even “seven-and-done” deal. She had to practice continually forgiving others until God finished the healing within her.

FOR PRAYER: What person(s) have you not been able to forgive yet? Spend some time now asking God to give you freedom from the anger or pain you feel. If you can’t bring yourself to want to forgive someone, tell God that in honesty, and ask for the desire to have the desire to forgive.