"Jesus answered, "I tell you, you must forgive him more than seven times. you must forgive him even if he does wrong to you 77 times. Matthew 18:22
In 2007, I lived in Barcelona in a house, with the landlady alone. When I first moved in, I thought to myself, naively: "Finally my own place, I’ll finally relax a bit!". Hum, the minute I thought that, God gave me this verse. It turned out, after a while, that the landlady could be the victim of serious mental problems. I was glad, after a while, that a friend moved in. Indeed, in spite of all the bowls and accessories broken unexpectedly, the wrong accusation about surfing on pornographic sites on the internet (thus causing its sudden malfunction ?!?) and home line abused of, the loss of color and holes on my underwear (because of her powerful detergents) and many other things, my friend and I stayed an entire year, supporting each other. Towards the end, putting that verse into practice became a struggle: I ended up leaving for good, quietly -with her unaware-, though without paying the last rent (400 euros !) and leaving a Spanish bible on my bed for her. Hum. All I can say for my defence is that I tried, to forgive as much as I could.
Everyone has got those moments: feeling hurt or annoyance, therefore not forgiving. Or, simply, fed up of forgiving. It is just not an easy thing.
When you’re fed up of forgiving, think about Jesus: how many times has he forgiven you? And He is still forgiving you, day after day. The only reason why we can have this relationship with God is because He forgave us for who we are (sinners), in the first place. I remember hearing about his reaction to Judas' betrayal, the guards at the garden: He simply said "do what you have to do", and restored the ear. Another “forgiven soul” I could name would be Mary Magdalene. Jesus accepted her, and she became a close follower, in spite of her past. I know, and I am sure we all do, many people in my life who would ressemble Judas or Mary Magdalene. But I also know that I feel Jesus' spirit inside me, helping me to remain friendly in stressful situations. If I can, so can you. You are (in fact… We all are!) naturally unforgiving, but it is not impossible for a forgiving Jesus lives in your heart. And as you grow towards becoming more and more like Him, you will learn to become more and more forgiving. And as you get better at it, Jesus will be proud of you, for your efforts and will reward you in some way. Knowing how hard it is, for He probably struggled too.
If you had to think about the people in your life to forgive... How many did you actually forgive ?! And how many times have you forgiven them ?! To whom of those people did you really bother giving a second chance to, as Jesus does with you?!
Definitely something to work on... But Jesus is with you!
Prayer: “Lord, I am so thankful that you forgive me, for my mistakes and for my being a sinner. I pray that you help me forgive others, in the same way; that you give me strength in staying open and nice to them, even in irritating and difficult times, where I could easily be angry or worse, unforgiving. I need your help in becoming more like you, showing mercy to others, as you show mercy to me. In Jesus’name, amen.”