DAY 312 OF 365 IN 2021
YOU MUST FORGIVE
Luke 17:4 Even if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him [that is, give up resentment and consider the offense recalled and annulled].”
Somehow, there was a song I wanted to listen to this afternoon because of the melody. There is a line that repeats quite often in the lyrics ‘forgive him if you can’. After reading the Gospel, it felt as if God was having a laugh at me as the contents of text were the very opposite of the words in the song.
While we may have expected an option to be offered and the choice whether to forgive or not personally made, there are no options on the table where forgiving is addressed. What we receive instead is an imperative, a command that is non negotiable ‘you MUST forgive’.
It does make sense to have a choice when it comes to forgiving particular where the actions involved have left scars, holes, feelings of distrust, pain among a list of other outcomes. It makes sense to allow the sufferer of those to have the final say about how they want to feel and what they want to do about it. However, God sees the place of forgiveness and its importance in the life of the Christian that he makes it a non-negotiable necessity.
An analogy that I always recall is ‘unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die’. It is like a hidden ill that gnaws bit by bit at you from the inside out. Truly then, forgiveness does have the power ‘to set free’. It enables its executor to unlock doors to their hearts and let out the things which if retained, will only rot to poison them from the inside out.
However difficult it is, we are charged to forgive. Not because we can, but because we must. It is not an option, it has become an imperative.