forgiveness. (for freedom)

it’s only 10:00, and it’s already been one of those mornings.

you all know the ones i’m talking about. woke up late because you didn’t sleep well the night before. it’s a bad hair day, nothing fits right, and where in the world is my other shoe? tired and cranky, you just want to crawl back under the covers and try it all again in another hour or so. but no. now you’re going to be late for work, and you need to go. like, now.

but as i was rushing out the door, i (for-some-reason-unbeknownst-to-me) paused by the kitchen table and picked up my devotional. thumbing through to today’s date, my eyes fell on a passage of scripture that, frankly, i just wasn’t in the mood to hear.

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. (Matthew 18.21-22)

tossing the book back onto the table with a sigh, i closed the front door locked it behind me. and then my car wouldn’t start. perfect. just perfect. but i digress.

later on, as i sat in the silence which serves as a prelude to my day, my thoughts began to wander. to the person i have tried to reach out to, time and time again, for years, hoping for nothing else but peaceful resolution. to the person that always seems to make me feel like i don’t matter until [s]he wants something from me. to the person that always seems to be willing to dish it out but unable to take it. 

and then…to that still, small voice inside of me that brought to mind those two verses and whispered, “seventy times seven.”

oh. i guess this is what that’s all about. that moment by the kitchen table was a warning. “remember these words.”

i’m just going to be honest: forgiveness is hard. and it’s rarely a once-and-for-all kind of thing. it’s a messy process that you have to do over and over again, every time you recall that wound, that thing you wish that person never said, the way you were treated, how things ended. 

every. single. time. you keep doing it, keep doing; it gets easier and easier until, one day,

you’re free

which is exactly what Jesus wants. He knew that an unforgiving heart keeps us from full and abundant freedom. so He tells us to forgive, keep forgiving, even when it hurts, even when it’s hard. just keep doing it. He’s right there with us, walking through the mess, leading us through 

to freedom.

 

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