1 Peter 4:18 — Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins (NIV).
Forgiveness is the way of love. It is not a feeling but a commitment. Choosing to forgive is the road less traveled. Many hurt people do not forgive for a variety of justifiable reasons, but the person who truly loves God will express that love by forgiving his or her offenders.
We have to consciously make the decision to pardon those who have hurt us. Forgiveness does not happen by chance; it happens by choice. Choosing to forgive is rarely easy. 1 Corinthians 13:6 says love always perseveres. This truth is important to understand, especially when someone hurts you repeatedly.
Peter and Jesus had an enlightening conversation concerning this truth in Matthew 18:21-22: Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (NIV).
I’m sure Peter thought seven times was a pretty generous offer. When someone consistently hurts us, it’s not uncommon to think, “When is enough, enough?” Have you ever been there before? Are you there right now? Jesus basically told Peter he was to forgive his brother every time he was wronged by him. God requires the same of us today.
Forgiving is difficult because forgetting offenses is not always possible. Gary Chapman once wrote, “We cannot erase the past, but we can accept it as history.” Forgiveness is a choice to show mercy and live today free from the failures of yesterday. It doesn’t make the wrongs you’ve suffered right, nor does it wipe away the hurt, but it is the first step toward recovery.
Colossians 3:13 — Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (NIV).
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