Matthew 18:21-22 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?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
Jesus’ response (seventy-seven times) symbolizes an infinite amount—we just have to keep on forgiving. WHAT???
BUT, what if we stop thinking of forgiveness as a “pass,” a “don’t worry about it,” and start thinking of it as: “I’ll release you from the prison of my mind and soul and body. I put you in the hands of almighty God, and He can deal with you—I release this anger and bitterness—I trust God to deal with the issue!”
Forgiveness doesn’t mean we have to let someone keep hurting us, it’s okay to set boundaries, it’s biblical to walk away from a bad situation (Mt 7:6; 10:14; 1 Co 5:1-13; 2 Th 3:6). But we Do have to release the anger and punishment over to God. “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” (Rom 12:19).
And if we don’t? Then we are the ones who suffer over and over again from the pent up anxiety, anger, and bitterness. Forgiveness isn’t God trapping you into a bad situation—it is God releasing you from that continual pain and then God handling the situation Himself.
Can you trust God to have dealt with it or to still deal with it, even if you never personally see how God does that?
A prayer: Lord, please help me to trust You to deal with this situation. Show me that You are here and active in this! If I am to see how it works out then give me the faith to believe and trust that You did or will deal with that person or persons. Lord, I release ____ into Your hands, I forgive them. I release them from the prison of my mind and spirit and body and hand their judgment over to You. Give me the courage to protect myself and others from the sin of this one. Give me the courage to accept true repentance and sincere attempts at reconciliation, and the wisdom to know if it is not actually true or sincere. Heal me, Lord, from the wound received. Heal me from my own bitterness. Please set me free! In Jesus’ name, Amen!