As Peter, a disciple of Jesus, asked how many times he had to forgive someone who sinned against him, Jesus answered 70 times seven! He explained the reason using a parable as follow.
A Parable of Debtor ( Mathew 18:21-35)
A servant, who was told to sell not only himself but also his wife and children because he could not return his millions of dollar debts, kneeled down and begged the king, whom he owed money, “ Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.” Then, the king felt pity for him and let him go forgiving all his debt. Yet, on the way home, as the servant saw a man who owed the servant a few thousand dollars, he immediately demanded the money to pay back, and as the servant knew the man was not ready to pay back, he had the man arrested to send to a prison though the man begged him to wait for a little more time.
Once the king learned what the servant did, he called back the servant and told him with anger, “ I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?” Then the servant was arrested and tortured until he had paid his entire debt.
The Bible tells that if we refuse to forgive our brothers and sisters from our heart, our heavenly Father will do the same to us.
In other words, the Bible is telling that we have to forgive each other because God forgave our Sin of disowning God, the penalty of which was death, by Jesus’ Cross.
It’s Difficult But With God It’s Possible
We are so quick to notice someone’s faults and easy to get angry or hateful, forgetting our own sins.
I have struggled with the hate, which was evoked by someone who has hurt my loved ones for many years. The feeling was so strong that I have had nightmares many times, which woke me up in the middle of nights. Each time I see that person and the evil spirit, my anger grows quickly and even after I become alone, it is so difficult to control myself not to scream. Although I try to focus on the good part of the person, the pitch-dark ugliness becomes so huge that I am simply not able to.
In the shower, I prayed,
“ Oh God, I am sorry but I can’t forgive X. Please cleanse my anger and hate, and soften my heart. “
As I prayed, I recalled the above Bible story, and thought; I’ve also hurt and made many cried. I also owe apologies for some people, but Jesus died for me and X, as well.
Then my fire of hate was extinguishing.
“ God, please wash away X’s anger, greed, and evil spirit. Please give X a new heart.”
Instead of opening my mouth and sinning again by attacking X, I could pray for the person.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”- John 15:5
It is so true.