“Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times? ”Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22
“WOW! SEVENTY SEVEN TIMES! You gotta be kidding me?! How is that fair?!” That’s what I said when I read that again the other day during all the turmoil that has been happening.
I thought I had learned most of what could be learned about forgiving people, but God has a way of showing you that you still have a lot to learn. My most recent lesson was that forgiving a person that has repeatedly caused you pain / angst and sins against you is much more difficult than one that has sinned against you once.
I realised this as I sat in my lawyer’s office crying and saying “It’s not fair! Why do I have to give up stuff for a person who is making things so difficult! I am so tired of dealing with it!” I have anxiety and being in continued conflict with my ex-husband is exhausting and is having a negative impact on my health (again). I was just starting to see some real headway in my health and then the troubles started again.
I am a person that likes to deal with things head on and as quickly as possible, so ongoing discord drives me crazy. I like to deal and move on. Get it out, get it solved, and let’s get on with life.
I got to a place where I have been praying for my ex-husband. I’ve been praying that the Lord forgive him for his sins against me as I choose to forgive him. I’ve been asking the Lord to heal me up so that I no longer have negative feelings regarding him.
I thought I was doing well. I mean I actually prayed much faster than I did before for him. But what I realised is that it’s exhausting to have to repeatedly pray forgiveness for a person because they just keep doing things. I am frustrated, exhausted, perplexed, and angry that he keeps doing things to make it difficult to get along. I ask why? Why keep being that type of person? What does it get you? Why must I keep going through this?
Then I had the realisation that I have had many people hurt me over the years, including my current hubby, and I forgave them and almost all of them I can’t even recall what they did. Awesome right? Freeing right?. Yes it is. So why can’t it be the same with my ex-husband? Because it hasn’t stopped. Its like building layer in layer.
Because the hurts and sins keep coming against me like a wave on the ocean, I can never get fully settled to stand and not be knocked over by them. Instead I end up having my feet swept from under me and I have to start the process all over. The others were like a wave that broke on me and then I walked out of the ocean and stood on dry land where they no longer impact me. Some of them have been almost tsunami size, yet I still was able to get to land because they were individual with time between to get my bearings.
But this is a constant bombardment which I am finding very irritating and exhausting. I find it all very unfair. So when I read the above passage I was angry. Why do I have to keep forgiving him Lord? He just won’t stop being…HIM!
Then I had the thought, Jesus died for me and forgave me my sins, and I keep sinning against him. So who am I not to forgive my ex-husband? Do I like that I have to do this? No. Do I like that Jesus was clearly saying I must continue to forgive no matter how many times I have to deal with him? No. Do I want Jesus to forgive me? Yes. Do I have any right to not forgive? No. I must remind myself that Jesus endures exactly this scenario. People repeatedly sin against him even though he died for us. How horrible that must feel? How difficult it must be for him. Much worse hurt than what I keep going through. Yet he continually forgives.
So I will continue to get angry, frustrated, exhausted, then I will forgive and pray for him because I have no other option if I want the same grace for myself. My only recourse is to pray that God heals me within and that he intercede to stop the continued bleeding so that I can move on and not have to have these annoying interruptions in my life from him.
I expect other hurts from life, but I pray they will be individual issues that are not repetitive. For now I will continue to have the anger well up and then I will pray and ask the Lord to heal me.I will remind myself that forgiving someone who repeatedly does things is more difficult and I am allowed to be angry about it. I remind myself that as long as I keep at it , one day I will be able to be healed up . I hope that one day I will be able to have hurts be erased from my mind almost as fast as they occur. That way I can live in forgiveness daily rather than in anger and hurt. But for now…I pray…again.