Yes. There is a number I’m afraid of. You read that right.
Sometimes it just seems like too much.
It’s 70 x 7.
But I’m afraid it was symbolic, so it could be any number, infinity, or #asmanytimesasittakes.
None of them an easy pill to swallow. Or anything I can or really want to wrap my brain around. For sure, not my heart.
In the book of Matthew in the Good Book, that number is given. In response to the question, “How many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?”
“Seven? Hardly. Try seventy times seven.”
Y’all. Imagine if someone hurt you. Bad. Knowingly. Willingly. Showing no remorse. And hurt others too. Ones you love. What do you do with that? How do you forgive that seventy times seven times?
I’ll tell you where I am at in this. I’m still working on number one.
I have put it behind me. Yes. Moved on. Yes. Days go by I don’t think about it anymore. But when my memory confronts my heart, my heart still folds its hypothetical arms and shakes its little head and walks off with a frown and a heavy weight bearing down. Just. No.
How am I supposed to do that? How can I forgive someone who has never asked for my forgiveness? Who has, with a great degree of arrogance and to any one who would listen, indicated that I was/am/always will be the problem.
I don’t even know.
It makes me very sad.
I know the words of the Lord’s prayer. And how some folks say they can’t pray the words “Forgive me…..AS I forgive them” because they haven’t been able to forgive yet.
And I know the rest of that story from the Good Book about how often we are called to forgive. How the King forgave his servant who owed him a great deal when the servant asked him to. How the huge debt was erased. And how almost immediately the forgiven one came across a fellow servant who owed him a relatively small amount, and even though his debtor begged for forgiveness, he did not grant it and had his fellow servant thrown in jail.
The end of the story is that the folks who saw all of this happen were appalled. They went and told the King, who was furious. He confronted the servant and asked why he couldn’t forgive someone when he had been forgiven such a great debt. Then he made the servant pay back the great amount he owed.
I get it.
I am given grace beyond measure. I am forgiven multiple times every day. Always. I am thankful. Humbled. Blown away even. And appreciative–did I mention I was thankful? I know I didn’t earn it and don’t deserve it. At all.
But 490? Or as many times as it takes? Do You really know what that person did to me? Have You been following this storyline closely? Are You aware? Because if You have, surely You wouldn’t be asking this of me. You’d know it’s beyond forgiveness, right? Right? Rig–
I don’t have any answers tonight. No ideas for how to get over this hurdle. I’ve been hurt by folks before and was able to move right along, eventually forgiving, forgetting, even becoming good friends after all was said and done. Thankful for them in my life.
But this one. This One. Is. Very. Difficult.
So if you struggle with a pain or hurt that you can’t get past, know you’re not alone. I’m not saying we’re right in being where we are, just that we are in this boat together, floating around in the darkness looking for a way out of the murkiness of hurt and frustration.
And if that number seems way too big for you like it does for me, maybe we should just break it down and work on forgiving in this moment right here. Just this very one, not looking beyond it. Not for them–the ones who hurt us–but for us. So we can leave the darkness.
Love and Light to all.