"No, not seven times," Jesus replied, "but seventy times seven." Matthew 18:21-22
I've come across this a lot recently, and it seems to have a different meaning each time I read it. Whatever circumstance I'm going through, I immediately apply it to that. I want nothing more than to please God by forgiving other people, but even still, I have laid in bed countless nights talking to Jonathan about forgiveness. I'll say, "But Jonathan, they do it over and over again, and I don't think they're ever going to change." Maybe they will never change, but who am I to determine whether they should be forgiven or not?
To be honest, I never hear Jonathan say mean things about anyone--and yes, I'm being completely serious. He just doesn't do it. I, on the other hand, quite easily let things slip out when I feel like people have hurt my feelings, only to be reminded by Jonathan that it's not about what's been done to me, but only my reaction to the situation that matters. Jesus didn't control what was done to him, but he very much controlled his response each and every time.
I wish I could say I never hold a grudge and immediately forgive people. After all, I've learned the value in assuming the best in other people. But believe it or not, being human, I take some attacks personally, and I can't let them go on my own. I really need God to change my heart each and every time. I don't believe that most people are out to get me, but when they hurt me, that's pretty easy to forget.
I wonder about motivations of other people, blinding me to any small good changes in their life, because I've already pegged them with the negative habits they've had for so long. So, when they do something good, I almost dismiss it as an accident, and assume they didn't mean it. Sad as it is, I've had little faith in others to change, and have been blind to the good. "70x7," Jesus said, which I know literally means infinity times.
God has forgiven me. Who am I to withhold love or forgiveness from anyone else? It's not my right, and it's not my job.
"There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed with troubles, because we know how trouble can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next." Romans 5:3-4
My goodness, do you see how God always turns everything meant for bad into good? Because we go through troubles and trying times, we actually get the opportunity to grow in patience and virtue! He always turns something bad into good--always. In fact, that's all I've ever seen in my life. Bad turned into good. I guess you could say I'm expectantly waiting for the next big thing that I need to smack me between the eyes--and I'm okay with it. I love that I'm open to learning and that he's open to teaching. Bring it. Only when I've been refined in the fire and I lose all that I am will I ever be truly be made into Christ's likeness.