21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
We live in a world that lives out the philosophy that it is us against them. You hear stories about opposing team fans being beat up, made fun of, and harassed because they cheer for an opposing team. All you have to do is look at Washington DC to see that we live in a world that can not get along and work together. Jesus is in the business of love and unity. Do we apply the attitude of Christ to fellow believers and even family members? Have we fallen into the patterns and attitudes of the world? If we are going to apply the attitude of Christ we must be willing to ask the Lord to Teach us the Power of Forgiveness.
When Jesus calls us to forgiveness, he calls us to an attitude that will seem strange to us and the world. Jesus doesn’t say if you feel like it, or if you want to, or if you get around to it. Jesus could not be any more clear that because we have been forgiven we have been called to forgive. Aren’t we glad that God does not show us the same standard of forgiveness that we often times show the world? Lord Teach us the Power of Forgiveness.
Are we allowing bitterness to poison our lives? Are we allowing the power of forgiveness to transform us? I heard a story this week of a family in Iowa that called and had their grave plots moved because of the dispute they had with their own family. Even after someone is gone people do not want to let go of their bitterness. Many of us know families that have been torn apart because of disputes over estates. Even among churches, Satan loves to come in and cause a divide in our fellowships.
Think about the difference between that attitude and the attitude that Jesus calls us to have. Jesus calls each one of us to love our enemies. This attitude is a revolutionary attitude that changes everything. Imagine a world where we live out the forgiveness that God has given us. If Christ calls us to do this, why is it so hard to show this forgiveness? It is so difficult because there are things in this life that are seem impossible to forgive. People hurt us, turn their back on us, and cause us pain. In those moments we can not rely on our own ability to forgive we must rely on the love and grace that comes from God.
Two very famous brothers had their own issues. Jacob had every right to be worried. He had stolen the blessing and the birthright from his brother Esau. Jacob fully expected his brother to show him hate and anger and felt that he deserved it. Jacob divides his camp into two groups just in case Esau would attack. Jacob is shocked when Esau embraces him. We often say the world needs Jesus, but we often forget how much we need the power of forgiveness in our own lives and relationships.
We live in a world that desperately needs the power of forgiveness. The power of forgiveness restores broken relationships just like it did for Jacob and Esau. Forgiveness has the ability to restore our relationships with others and most importantly with God! God has restored us and forgiven us by sending us Jesus Christ to die for our sins. Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. Do we apply this attitude of grace to those in our lives? The world needs the power of forgiveness and it will only happen when we taste the grace of God and let the power of forgiveness begin with us!