This is probably one of the most difficult teachings of Jesus to incorporate into our lives.
Many of Jesus’ teachings are easy to get behind. Loving your neighbor, being kind to strangers, and feeding the poor are all widely accepted.
However, when it comes to Jesus’ words on forgiveness, many of us balk.
For example, Peter asked him a most difficult question about forgiveness.
Then Peter approaching asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22)
Jesus challenges us to not to put a number to the times we should forgive our family or friends who have hurt us in any way, but to always forgive them, no matter what.
This can be a difficult teaching to accept, but Jesus said that our eternity depends upon it.
If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions. (Matthew 6:14-14)
When Jesus said these things, he also practiced what he preached, forgiving his enemies while hanging on the cross.
Father, forgive them, they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)
Forgiveness takes a great deal of humility to practice effectively and requires us to be vulnerable. The other person may or may not accept our forgiveness and this can be even more difficult to endure.
Yet, the pathway to peace in our soul and in our relationships is through forgiveness. If we truly want to achieve that peace, we must practice forgiveness on a daily basis.
It may be difficult, but our soul can only be healed through the balm of forgiveness.