21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” 22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! (Matthew 18:21-22)
Forgiveness. Forgiveness. Forgiveness. It is not easy for us to do. The hardest thing to do when you have been hurt is to forgive the person that hurt you. Your mind says, “Do not do it! Remember what they did to you! Keep this memory in your mind and never forget it! Every time you see that person or hear that person’s name, let the anger swell up within you! Let the rage build! Keep it locked safely inside your heart and never let it go! Keep talking about it! Don’t forget”! I thought these same thoughts. Someone I loved very much, someone who I loved as my sister hurt me to my very soul. My heart was ripped out of my chest.
How can I forgive someone who hurt me so deeply? How could I let go of the pain? I found out I could not do it on my own. SOMEONE stronger and mightier than I had to help me overcome. That SOMEONE was Jesus Christ. I had to allow Jesus to heal my heart by removing the anger and bitterness. I knew He was the only way I could overcome. I kept reading about Jesus on the Cross. He had been betrayed by His own people! He had been charged for a crime He did not commit! He was beaten, spit upon and cursed at. He was completely innocent, yet He was sentenced to death. As He hung on the Cross, soldiers were gambling over his clothes! After all He had endured, Jesus said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”. (Matthew 23:34) Jesus forgave them. He forgave me. My sins put Him on the Cross. My sins! Your sins!
How many times must we forgive? SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN. In other words if you get hurt by the same person over and over you have to forgive them every time. Jesus was telling us that we must always, always forgive.
I did overcome, yet it took a long time for it to happen. But, it finally happened. Six months after the betrayal, I ran into the person. I smiled at them and said, “hi”. They could not look me in the face nor did they say anything in return. That was ok. It was that moment that I knew I had been set free! I had been delivered! I was free!
Forgiveness heals you. Forgiveness frees you from the bondage of anger, pain and hate. Holding onto hate and pain does you harm. You are miserable. You are depressed. The other person is enjoying their life. They are not thinking about how hurt you are. So why are you letting what they did to you destroy yours?
The only thing you can do about the person who betrayed and hurt you is to ask God to change them. God tells us in Luke 6;28 to Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. Pray that He changes their heart. Pray that they allow the love of Jesus Christ to enter into their heart. They may never change. They may never apologize for what they did to you. That’s all right because you have freed yourself from the hold they had over you. You can live your life knowing that you are free! You can enjoy your life! You can be happy! Most of all you can glorify God in telling someone that has been hurt and betrayed about how you overcame the pain of betrayal.