The Kajillionaire Mindset
Pastor John Morgan
When the disciples were trying to figure out what forgiveness meant, they have a bunch of questions for Jesus. They wanted to know where they stood with him, they wanted to know the black-and-white of forgiving, they wanted to know all the caveats that it entailed.
“How many times should we forgive? 7 times?” Paul asked. Imagine the conversations that must have lead up to Paul asking Jesus about this. Imagine the disciples hanging out, talking about forgiveness. At that time, the standard was to forgive someone three times. So, imagine Paul telling the other disciples something like, “I am such a good follower that I’d probably forgive 7 times.” And imagine the other disciples responding with “no way man. No way you’d forgive that much. I dare you to tell Jesus that”. And then, Paul did.
“How many times should we forgive? 7 times?” Paul asked (with a likely amount of haughtiness). And, instead of praising Paul for being so forgiving, Jesus began to teach about how to forgive. And that we are to forgive always, “seventy times seven”.
Like the disciples must have struggled, we also struggle with this. The concept of forgiveness has been tangled up in excusing things. We have come to place forgiveness in equality with freeing others of consequences. But, as Jesus taught His disciples and continues to teach us, that is incorrect.
But, how do we do this? How do we actually, really, truly, forgive others? Over and over? Time after time?
First, we have to receive the promise. Sometimes, it can seem crazy that Jesus died for our sins, in the ultimate act of forgiveness. But, He did. On purpose. Instead of holding grudges on ourselves, instead of living in the haze of our past mistakes, we have to forgive ourselves. We don’t need to live in shame for things that Heaven has no record of.
Second, we have to reciprocate the privilege. Jesus chose to die for us, for our sins. He forgave us for what He knew we would do in the future. For all the times we’d turn our backs, for all the times we’d hurt Him, for all the times we would act unkindly, for all the times we would give into Darkness. We forgive because we have been forgiven. We forgive because we’ve been set free, because we’ve been given second and third and fifteenth chances.
Third, we get to reconfigure judgement. It is not our job to judge others, it’s God’s. We don’t have to decide who is guilty and who is not. We don’t have to figure out who gets what consequence. Instead, we have to give that up to God. We have to stop allowing our human ideas get in the way of forgiving.
Fourth, we get to re-purpose the pain. And really, this makes forgiveness much easier. Instead of allowing the Dark to tell our story – instead of letting ourselves be held captive in shame and brokenness, we get to be set free. We get to use our story to speak of Light, of healing, of restoration. We get to use the lens of newness and allow our hurt to speak life into others that are caught in the same traps we’ve escaped from. You see, all throughout the Bible, Jesus uses stories of broken people to share stories of courage and of transformative Love – and He’s still doing this today.
Choose to forgive. Choose to set yourself free of the contract of hurt. Choose to let Love reign. Choose to speak hope into the void, and choose to let your story be one of Light and not Dark. Forgive because we are forgiven.