Forgiveness

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Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Should I forgive as many as seven times?” Jesus said, “Not just seven times, but rather as many as seventy- seven times. -Matthew 18:22-23 (CEB)

“Community is not possible with out the willingness to forgive one another”seventy times seven”. Forgiveness is the cement of community life.  Forgiveness holds us together through good times and bad times and allows us to grow in mutual love…

To forgive a person from the heart is an act of liberation. We set that person free from the negative bonds that exist between us. We say, “I no longer hold your offense against you.” But there is more. Were also free ourselves from the burden of being the”offended one.” As long as we do not forgive those who have wounded us, we carry them with us or, pull them as a heavy load. The great temptation is to cling in anger to our enemies and then define ourselves as being offended and wounded by them. Forgiveness, therefore, liberates not only the other but also ourselves. It is the way to the freedom of the children of God.” -From Bread for the Journey,  by Henri Nouwen

Forgiveness may be the number one reason that keeps us from living free. It is hard to extend forgiveness to those who have failed us. Especially when they have failed us again, and again… and again. Sometimes I find myself asking,  “God,  just how often should I forgive?” His reply is, “Every time.”

I know forgiveness sets me free.  But this is one area I seem to struggle with on a regular basis especially when it deals with something I want to be changed and promises have been made and changes don’t come… or come as soon as I would like. But in the quiet of the night, when I am receptive again to God’s voice, I hear whispered in my ear, “Every time.”

Heavenly Father, I thank you for the countless times You have forgiven me. Give me the strength today to forgive again and every time. Amen.

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