HOW MANY TIMES
“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.”
Matthew 18:21, 22
King James Version
Someone who was talking to a friend said “She did it again. She promised she would never do it again. How many times is she going to keep doing it? She said she was sorry and asked me to forgive her and I did but she did it again the next day.”
I think if we will listen with our heart, we will hear our Heavenly Father say to us “You asked Me to forgive you and you told Me that you wouldn’t do it again but you keep doing it.” It is so easy to point the finger of guilt at someone, isn’t it? It’s a lot harder for us to admit we need forgiveness.
One of my pastors said in a sermon “If you will make sure your own heart is in right standing with God, you won’t have the time to judge and criticize others”. The pastor was so right because I have found that it is a full time job to make sure there is nothing in my heart that hurts God and breaks His heart. I receive emails from people who tell me how wonderful it is that I write devotions and I appreciate those emails because all of us need to be encouraged.
However, like you do, there are times when I hurt God and break His heart. Don’t look to me, to your pastor or to your Sunday school teacher, keep your eyes on Jesus because He is perfect and He will never hurt you. I know from personal experience that Jesus really cares about us and He never leaves us, not even for a minute.
A husband and wife were taking a trip and while driving down the highway the wife said to her husband “We don’t sit next to each other like we used to do”. Her husband who was driving replied “I haven’t moved”. If you feel like Jesus has left you, He hasn’t. He is still here. It is you that has left Him. I don’t think we have grasped in our heart that it hurts Jesus when we don’t spend time with Him. If our schedules are so busy that we don’t have the time to talk to Jesus, we are too busy and we need to rearrange our schedules.
My Mother used to say to me “I told you not to do that again and you told me you weren’t going to do it again but you did”. It is a good thing that our Heavenly Father loves us unconditionally and is a compassionate forgiving Father. May God help us to forgive others as He forgives us.
You might think why should I forgive that person? She didn’t ask me to forgive her. Jesus showed us how we should forgive others. We should forgive from our heart. While still hanging on the cross with the blood flowing down His body, He asked His Father to forgive us.
“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots” (Luke 23:33,34).
Heavenly Father, I’m sorry for the times when I have hurt You because I allowed unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment and hatred to remain in my heart. Thank You for loving me and forgiving me. I love You so much, Heavenly Father. Thank You that You will never hit us, yell at us, and tell us we’re no good. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.
August 17, 2019