Archive for February, 2019

As a necessary disclaimer, there are times that we need to leave a relationship or situation for our physical or mental safety.  Our obligation to forgive a perpetrator does not require us to remain in an abusive relationship.  There are other, less extreme, cases where we simply need to “move on.”  See When friends turn against you.  But even in extreme cases, we need to forgive our “brothers.”

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Matthew 18

21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

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Jesus used 490 times as an arbitrarily high number to make a point.   A common interpretation is that this meant 490 separate offenses from the “brother.”   Be that as it may, 490 times could also apply to a single offense.  We may have a sincere, righteous desire to forgive someone who hurts us.  We may pray for that person.  We may feel that we really have forgiven him or her.  But then, maybe a week later, some event or thought may trigger us to relive all of the emotional pain and anger.  Then we must nearly start the forgiveness process anew.   Perhaps Jesus also taught that it might take up to 490 cycles to complete the forgiveness and healing process for just the one offence.

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There is no use talking as if forgiveness were easy.     – C.S. Lewis

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– Tom Irvine

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