The holidays are here. It should be an exciting time of the year, but you remember last year. The cutting comment about your kids’ behavior cloaked in flattery. The annual retelling of stories from your past you wish would never resurface. And please- the political conversations.
I don’t believe anyone actually intends to show up with an axe to grind as you pass the ham or a grievance to air while you carve the turkey. Every person around you and around me is struggling, and it’s easiest to hurt the ones closest to us, which means our closest family and friends are often those who push our buttons fastest. Our silent treatment that ensues screams that the offender ought to know better as we wait for the apology to arrive. But Jesus has a different expectation: whether or not the apology arrives, He commands us to forgive.
The apostle Peter thought he’d impress Jesus when he offered the idea of forgiving someone 7 times. After all, the culture called for 3 times before you wrote someone off. When Jesus responded to Peter with, “I tell you, not 7 times, but 70 x 7” I can picture him smiling at Peter and thinking, “mind blown!”
Maybe you’ve heard, “not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to drop.” Forgiveness is hard. And it’s a choice you face a lot- because we get hurt by someone else–a lot. Because when you forgive the person that’s really set free is you.