"Why You Can't Forgive Someone
“Lord, if my brother keeps on sinning against me, how many times do I have to forgive him?” Matthew 18: 21b GNT
We all have people that irritate us. Peter wondered how often must one forgive. I can’t imagine the look on Peter’s face when he heard Jesus reply, “Not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18: 22b NIV). Jesus was saying there is no limit on forgiveness. If you’re keeping score, you’re missing the point.
So if that’s the deal from Jesus, that we have to keep on forgiving people, why is it so important that we do this? Let me give you three reasons.
1. GOD HAS FORGIVEN YOU
How would you feel if God was keeping score of your sins and you reached the limit? We know He doesn’t do that because He is merciful. Mercy means we get a do over. When you feel forgiven, you’re more likely to be forgiving.
2. RESENTMENT MAKES YOU MISERABLE
Resentment is hell on earth. It tortures you and it’s a self-inflicted wound. God doesn’t lock us up in jail when we don’t forgive people. We do it to ourselves. We get caught up in anger and anxiety. The hurt just grows bigger. The key is forgiveness. That unlocks the jail. That’s why you want to learn to forgive so that you don’t have to resent.
3. YOU'LL NEED FORGIVENESS IN THE FUTURE
We all know it’s going to happen. We need to remember that forgiveness is a two way street. Don’t burn the bridge you have to walk across in order to be forgiven.
Now forgiveness isn’t an instant restoration of trust. Forgiveness is instantaneous. Trust must be rebuilt over time. Unfortunately, sometimes trust can’t be rebuilt but the forgiveness allows us to live with that person. We are no longer resentful of them. Forgiveness is instant and unearned; trust must be earned.
Peace in the Lord,