Jesus speaks often about forgiveness. I’m imagining at some point the disciples either got confused or troubled by what he was saying and wanted some clarification. Peter comes to Jesus and asks, “How often do we need to forgive someone? Seven times?” I can also imagine Peter thought he was being generous here. But some people are very hard to forgive. Some grievances are difficult to forgive and release. Our pain runs deep. Our heartache is great. Some people do things to us and keep doing them to the point we can’t imagine continually forgiving them for hurting us over and over. Sometimes co-workers or family members repeatedly cause us pain and we are incredibly challenged to forgive them and the damage they have done. I think of the people I have had great difficulty forgiving at work, in my family, in the church, the nasty neighbor. We all have a list born of some hard experience.
Sunday, we’ll talk about a parable of Jesus that gets at these tough issues of forgiveness. Jesus is clear how forgiveness comes out of a relationship with God that is alive and gracious. Forgiveness can happen because we recognize the immense love that God has for us. First, we can see that we need God’s help. We recognize we need God’s patience. We need God’s strength. We need a measure of grace so that we can, in mature ways, respond to injury and hurt. We need God’s wisdom that will help us know what to say and how to say it. When we ask God for this kind of help, then we are acting in God’s best interests. We can take those steps of forgiveness then we are acting as God does. Jesus also gives some warnings about forgiveness which may be a surprise to you. Worship with us this Sunday as we meet the power and grace of God that is large enough to face the most difficult of circumstances and people.
Pastor Dave Summers