“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much” – Oscar Wilde
We read this passage and immediately feel outraged on behalf of the colleague and the master. How could someone be so selfish and heartless straight after they have been shown so much mercy?!
Unfortunately, we all also recognise that Jesus is pointing out the blatant hypocrisy that we show towards other people’s sins after we are given (and come to expect) so much grace from our God.
We all find it difficult to forgive, some more than others (I am definitely a some) but the truth is creating a culture of forgiveness is the only way to live a good and happy life in relationship with God.
There is often I think a confusion about what forgiveness means. Forgiving someone for what they have done is not an expression of your belief that they have committed no wrong, rather that you are willing to let it go.
The truth is in most cases ‘Forgive and forget’ doesn’t really work in reality and forgiving doesn’t imply a sudden amnesia. I believe when Jesus says “seventy times seven” he doesn’t mean walk into the same mistake with someone over and over again, instead don’t allow their wrong to take the power of hate in your life.
When we get down to it, Jesus is saying we cannot be in relationship with him and disharmony in our spirit with others. That means carrying hate or unforgiveness towards someone around with us. I don’t think we can forgive instantly in all cases but we always need to commit to the process of forgiveness, which begins by praying for help and banishing the negative thoughts about someone from our mind.
As a wise woman told me recently “you can’t help the bird flying over your head but you can stop it nesting in your hair.” Deal with your hurt but don’t dwell on negative feelings towards the person who hurt you, work on letting it go.
Check out this amazing story of a woman who survived through captivity in the horrific civil war in the Democratic of Congo and forgave her captors and prison guards.
You can listen to it (8mins) - click this link: Story of Woman in Congo