It's especially difficult when we've been hurt more than once by the same person.
There's an old saying: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." In other words, we should guard ourselves from a person who has hurt us and not give them a second chance.
Child of God, I'm here to tell you that a Christian lives an opposite life from a worldly person. Whereas our culture would say, "Don't give them another chance," we are called to forgive 70 times 7.
Does that mean when someone abuses us, we just sit there and let them beat us up? No, I think it means we remove ourselves from the situation, but we work through it with God until we feel no more bitterness in our heart and are able to forgive, love and pray for that person.
The great thing about it is that God doesn't ask us to do anything that He Himself does not do. He forgives us over and over - often for the same thing. The Word tells us He is faithful and just to forgive us if we confess our wrongdoing. It says there is fresh mercy every morning. He forgives us even knowing in His omniscience that we will mess up again.
Jesus told a story about a person who owed the king a great debt. A debt that would forever bankrupt him because of his inability to pay. So the king had mercy on him and forgave him. What did the guy do when he realized he was free from repayment? He went to a guy who owed him money and mercilessly had him thrown in debtor's prison. In other words, the very thing he was guilty of doing, he wanted someone else to receive punishment. Therefore, the king withdrew his forgiveness from the first person.
We are told in the Word that if we will not forgive, we will not be forgiven either.
He lets us off the hook. Can we do no less?
Scriptures for further study:
- Matthew 6:14-15
- Matthew 18:21-35
- Mark 11:25-26
- Luke 6:37
- Luke 17:3-4
- Lamentations 3:22-23
This post is Day 15 of my series, 31 Basics for Believers. You can find all the posts here.