Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him (Luke 17:3-4); Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven (Matt 18:21-22)~ We all know the very popular discussions Jesus had around forgiveness and how often we must partake in this selfless act. The word tells us that God takes our sins and in His grace and mercy of forgiveness, He casts them into the sea (Micah 7:19). That means once forgiven, forever forgiven. After all, we are not to suppose that God actually forgives people, and afterwards reckons their guilt to them to condemn them! If we are wronged seven times or seventy times seven, we are to forgive. The point is not to force us to do the mental math. The point is that forgiveness needs to be an attitude ingrained within us, an attitude that is not limited by rules or doctrines; guided by our pride and ego and forcing the worthiness of our aggressor. It is not our place to seek retribution nor revenge, for the Lord says ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay’ (Rom 12:19). We are to forgive and move on. Let the offender worry about his actions and let God deal with them! You focus on what you can control. Many of us elicit the common response that it’s ‘easier said than done’ which solely speaks to the need for us to take a look at ourselves. We have a direct command from the Lord that is our responsibility and solely in our control, not based on the other person’s actions (translation: they don’t need to ‘earn’ forgiveness, you’re supposed to GIVE it!). Regardless of how bad it gets, we must draw on the strength of the Lord within us to forgive. No matter what happens, we have a responsibility in the matter. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Gal 6:9). God will restore us in HIS due time if we just do what we are supposed to do. You may need time to remove yourself from the situation, but don’t be misled by the “but I’m not ready to forgive” syndrome that simply allows you to wallow in being the victim rather than start the healing process. No, the devil is a LIAR! Forgiving must be done and does not end with just saying “I forgive” but is a process that BEGINS with “I forgive”…in all, the process must be begun, the sooner the better. Anger, enticing as it may seem, is not your friend; it is not good for your spiritual, emotional or physical health in the long run. You may sever that relationship, and that’s okay, but you must forgive in order to START getting past the pain! Getting over the pain first before you forgive only makes you hold onto anger and the whole time you’re holding onto that, the other party is moving on, doing fine and living life…while you’re sitting there hurt and angry and bitter and stressing…and you can’t move on because you’re too focused on your anger! YOUR blood pressure is up, YOU have headaches, YOU are shortening YOUR life! Friend, Forgive and move on; Harbored Hatred Hinders Healing!