Grace to Forgive – Pastor Stacey

Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Should I forgive as many as seven times?” Jesus said, “Not just seven times, but rather as many as seventy-seven times.”  Matthew 18:21-22

There is a children’s book that I used to read to our girls entitled “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz. It is the story of a boy who had the kind of day when everything possible that could go wrong went wrong. Some days are just like that. We all have terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. Typically, on those days, I am as much in need of forgiveness as I need to forgive those around me.

God give us the grace to forgive.

Forgiveness is one of the most difficult things that Jesus asks us to do. Can you imagine Peter’s face when he thinks he is taking a leap of faith to forgive someone seven times and Jesus corrects him to say as many as 77?  In some versions of the Bible, Jesus says 70 times 7. Can you imagine forgiving someone 490 times?

God give us the grace to forgive.

Forgiveness is not about excusing bad behavior or putting yourself in a harmful situation. If you have been hurt, neglected, or abused by someone you trusted, Jesus does not expect you to continually put yourself in a harmful situation.

Forgiveness is about softening our own hearts and making room for the Holy Spirit to change our lives and maybe the lives of others. Forgiveness is about letting go of our own hurt and allowing God to begin the work of healing. Forgiveness is about a fresh start and God doing a new thing. It is about letting go of that which weighs you down and making space for Jesus to enter. Forgiveness is about growing in grace and learning to have more love for God’s world and the people in it.

God give us the grace to forgive.

If you are struggling with forgiveness for someone in your life or maybe even for yourself, give yourself a little bit of grace. Remember that God sees, loves, and forgives you. God even sees, loves and forgives those in your life that you find it hard to forgive.

As we walk through these days of Lenten preparation, may your heart be softened and may you hear Jesus whisper, “You are forgiven.”



Pastor Stacey