Starting Towards Forgiveness
“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
- Luke 17:3-5
This week we’ll be looking at forgiving others. It’s not easy work.
First a disclaimer: Go at your own pace and don’t force it. Too many times, those of us who have faced serious trauma/violence have been pushed to forgive before we’ve gone on the deep healing journey. If this is your situation, please consult with a wise mentor, therapist or pastor.
As we talked about in the sermon yesterday, there are different instructions given around forgiveness and different situations that they pertain to. Here, you get the sense that Jesus is talking about the sorts of daily conflicts and relational challenges that we face in our homes, schools, and work places (who else could sin against you 7 times in a single day!). And there’s clearly some back and forth here in these verses - Jesus called us to challenge the offender first, invite them to own what they’ve done, and then extend forgiveness.
So to get us started, think about the people you bump into on a daily basis. Ask Jesus to help you go on this journey towards forgiveness so that the kingdom might reign in your home/school/workplace. Let him know you’re committed to working on forgiveness all week and ask him to start surfacing the places in your heart that need to be addressed.
Finally, here’s our practice for the week. Each day set aside a time (put a reminder on your phone!) to pray the Lord’s Prayer. Pause when you get to “as we have forgiven our debtors” and let the Spirit bring to mind whoever you need to work on forgiving. Take your best step towards forgiving them, knowing that it’s often a process.