Friday, June 20, 2008
"Not seven times but seventy times seven."
Yesterday, while doing a routine chore, an incident came to mind when I had been really hurt by someone I really trusted. I have forgiven them long ago but I could feel myself prickling with anger, heating up over the injustice and outrage, as if it was brand new. I thought I had forgiven them, but some part of me enjoys reveling in the anger and the scenes of injustice. How quickly we move from mercy and forgiveness to anger and judgment. I am amazed at how often I need to be forgiven for the multitude of careless and hurtful things I do on a daily basis. I am also amazed at how hard it is to truly forgive others, to set the anger and outrage free to sail on the ocean and never return.
The disciple Peter wants limits to how many times he must forgive someone. I'm in his camp. Forgiving others is some of the hardest work we do. But Jesus answers him with a story of forgiveness, a story of God's constant mercy and our human need to limit and control mercy. Seventy times seven -until the hurt has sailed away on the sea. We are to forgive others because it releases in us the forgiveness we so desperately need in ourselves. Mercy and forgiveness flow from God like a deep powerful ocean and we would dam it up or keep it for ourselves.
Today I want to acknowledge my constant need of forgiveness and how difficult it is to truly forgive others, particularly those who hurt us and whom we love. Today, I want to invite God to teach me a new depth of forgiveness, a new way to let go of those hurts and slights so that mercy can truly flow in my life. May we all have the courage today to forgive others, to truly leave the hurt on the water and let it sail away to the heart of God. May we all know that God is actively seeking healing and restoration for those damaged and broken places, that our forgiving others will open each of us to receive new mercies, every morning.