By: Autumn Elizabeth, Editor in Chief
If your loved one 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.
I am not unfamiliar with the Bible, and I know full well that it contains quote a few messages like the one above— messages about forgiveness. But, well, in real life, I don’t find these teachings so easy to follow, especially when it comes to people I love.
The above passage from Luke is one that has always been hard for me. A stranger knocks into me on the street, I can forgive them. I find it is easy because there isn’t any baggage there. But someone I love, someone I trust, if they hurt me…well I find that finding forgiveness and reconciliation is a bit harder than the verse from Luke makes it appear.
Recently, I found myself in a situation where someone near and dear to my heart hurt me in a way they have done before. My loved one was of course sorry, and asked for forgiveness. Part of me knows that it is better for both of us if I forgive them, that it is indeed the “proper Christian thing to do”. But because it isn’t the first time, because they aren’t a stanger on the street, I was finding forgiveness a little hard… maybe really hard.
I understand that forgiveness is good, but when I read passages from the Bible, especially the one above from Luke, part of me thinks to myself “Come on! Seven times in one day! And I still have to forgive them!”.
But that is what I am called to do if I want to follow Jesus, it may be what we are all called to do if we want to find our own peace. Forgiveness has let me move on from hurt, it has helped me rebuild trust with people I love.
There is another verse from Luke that I find helps me when I am struggling with forgiveness of those I love. In Luke 6:37, we are told that if we forgive, then we will be forgiven. When j am really struggling with this forgiveness business, I like to read both of the versions of that passage below.
Jesús también les dijo:
“No se conviertan en jueces de los demás, y Dios no los juzgará a ustedes. No sean duros con los demás, y Dios no será duro a ustedes. Perdonen a los demás y Dios los perdonará a ustedes.
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
The first version focuses on how God will forgive us, will not condemn us, will mot judge us and so we are called to do the same. For me this connection with God is important for learning how to forgive those I love. I know i will need the help of the divine if I am going to truly reconcile and forgive those who have made mistakes seven times a day. the connection with God’s forgiveness also reminds me that i make far more than seven mistakes a day, and some i even forget to seek forgiveness for, and yet the divine spirit of love forgives them all.
The second passage doesnt mention God’s forgiveness, although it is implied. For me though, side by side with the other version of the same passage, the second version reminds me that the people i love are forgiving me just as often, if not more than I am forgiving them. We are all in this forgiveness business together.
Ultimately, forgiveness in the Bible can seem a lot easier than it does in real life, with real loved ones and years of history included. Yet the Bible, for me is also a resource when this forgiveness stuff gets really hard. It often helps me find new ways to look at forgiveness in real life. For me, the messages in the Bible also remind me to forgive myself when I am having trouble forgiving other, and that in the end, even if I can’t forgive someone seven times in one day, we are all still unconditionally forgiven, and loved by the divine.