If you are anything like me, you’ve opened your mouth and put your extra large foot inside one too many times. Yes, I can say that I’ve done that. I’ve said things that as soon as they left my mouth, I wished I could drag those words back, stuff them inside my mouth, and swallow them to where no one would ever hear them again.
With those words, several things can occur. 1) I can hurt someone with my harsh, uncaring words. 2) My reputation can be tarnished or at least dented with little hope of salvage. 3) The realization that I’ve done a horrible thing and that I must do something to repair the damage.
If you have ever been in this situation, you know how miserable you can feel. You know how desperate you are to make things right. You know what you must do. Seek forgiveness, even though it might be one of the most difficult thing you’ve ever done.
If you have ever been on the other end of the harsh words, you know how belittled you felt. You know how hurt feelings can completely overwhelm you. You know how difficult it can be to forgive someone who has harmed you.
Regardless of the side you are on, we are called to forgive. Here is a verse from God’s Word that leads us in that direction.
In Luke 17:3-4, Jesus has this to say about forgiveness. “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”
For certain if we are asked for forgive a brother, we must forgive. But most Scripture talks about forgiveness as a whole, much larger picture. Here are more examples.
Before the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant in Matthew 18, Peter asks Jesus the question, “How many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Peter felt he was being generous, but Jesus had more to say on this issue.
“I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-times.” I heard at some point that Jesus wants us to forgive until we can’t recall the number of times we’ve forgiven. Until we lose track. Just keep on forgiving.
After this same parable, Jesus says, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” (Matthew 18:35)
And if these still aren’t enough, here are a few more. “Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.” (2 Corinthians 2:7)
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13)
And just how has the Lord forgiven you? Well, this is how much.
Psalm 103:11-12 says, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
“Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:18-19)
And as we jump to the New Testament, forgiveness through Jesus Christ is just as wide and deep and complete.
As Peter spoke about Jesus in Acts 10:43, he says, “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
And this message is carried on through Ephesians 1:7-8. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.”
And there are plenty more where these came from. God’s Word is filled with forgiveness. Him forgiving us and we forgiving others. We don’t have to search long before we find this message loud and clear within its pages.
I pray that as you go through your day today that you allow God’s Holy Spirit to lead and guide you. That His words would be your words. That your actions would be pleasing to your heavenly Father. That is my prayer each day. To keep my feet on the ground and my mouth filled with God’s goodness.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,