How Many Times?

From Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

April 14

How Many Times?

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 54:1-7 | Josh 9:3-10:43 | Luke 16:19-17:10 | Proverbs 13:4

Today’s Scripture Focus: Luke 16:19-17:10

“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:3-5 NIV).

Whenever we deal with people, there is a good chance that someone will say or do something hurtful or unhelpful. Everyday life brings plenty of opportunities for offense. This is why learning to forgive is so important.

Learning to forgive may be one of the more difficult lessons in the life of following Christ. Forgiving too early, or too often, seems unfair. Forgiving so easily seems to diminish the importance of the hurt we feel. Yet Jesus tells us that if a person comes back to us in repentance, even seven times in one day, we still ought to forgive them.

Forgiveness powerfully releases the one who has sinned against us. It also releases us as we forgive – it’s an important part of the healing process in our own lives. It helps us deal with anger and bitterness. It also reminds us of the never ending love and grace of God—who never tires of us returning to him in repentance saying, “Forgive me, father, for I have sinned.”

Forgiveness is powerful, and as we learn to release forgiveness to those who have sinned against us, we release ourselves from negative attitudes and patterns of behavior that keep us trapped. Forgive and find freedom.

Like the disciples, this teaching may seem difficult. They said, “Increase our faith!” Sometimes we need the same. Ask God to give you the strength to take the offense to the cross and leave it there. It may seem too difficult for you—but nothing is too difficult for God.

Heavenly Father, thank you for forgiving me. Help me to forgive those who have hurt me. Help me to take these wounds to the cross and leave them there. Amen.

About pastorjeffsneighborhood

Born and raised in Minnesota, I have served in churches in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and California. I am a graduate of Crown College (MN) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR). I have also done additional graduate studies in New Testament Studies at the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA). I am also a graduate of the College of Prayer. Having served as the Academic Dean and Program Director at Horizon Institute of Los Angeles for several years, I have returned to the pastorate and serve as Pastor of Big Trees Community Bible Church in Arnold, CA.
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