I Must Forgive

“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.”—Jesus, Luke 17:4

Jesus charges us to forgive regardless of the frequency of the sin against us. But there’s a loophole! He qualifies the command based on repentance claimed by the sinner. Yet I find no loopholes in the Lord’s Prayer or elsewhere. And when I’m sinned against by a stranger who has no opportunity to come to me and claim to have repented, or by someone who has an opportunity but chooses not to repent, am I to bear that grudge and harbor unforgiveness toward that person? Clearly that is not Jesus’ teaching. So if repentance is claimed, I must forgive. And if there is no repentance, I must forgive. For my own sake, and for the sake of the kingdom of God, I must forgive.

Father, You know how I’ve harbored the sin of unforgiveness, how I’ve nurtured indignation and self-righteousness rather than relinquishing my pride to offer others the same grace You’ve granted to me. Lord, teach me to make forgiveness as much of a component of my character as it is of Yours. You have commanded it. I have no right to disobey. I must swallow my hurt, and I must offer forgiveness, truly and heartfelt.

Forgive, as God through Christ has forgiven you. Without reluctance or grudges, forgive, and be free.

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