Matthew 18:21-22 21Then Peter came up to Him and said, Lord, how many times may my brother sin against me and I forgive him and let it go? [As many as] up to seven times? 22Jesus answered him, I tell you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven!
I have read this passage many times, but something stuck out to me today as I read in the amplified version . Peter didn’t just ask how many times to forgive, he also said these words “and let it go”. Perhaps you have heard the “forgive and forget” tossed around. I have also heard people say, “I’ll forgive, but I’ll never forget”. Not only are we instructed to forgive, we have to let it go, or forget the wrongs that are done to us. Some time ago we studied out what walking in love really meant. 1 Corinthians 13:5 says ….. it (love) takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. That is the definition of letting go the things that we find so hard to forget- paying no attention to wrongs that are suffered. If you are not paying attention to something, you don’t react to it and your future actions aren’t affected by it, you simply continue on as if nothing has happened.
This isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do. I have typically been the kind of person that is trusting, open, and if you do something to hurt me I’ll immediately forgive, forget and continue on as if nothing happened- even if you’ve done the same thing a hundred times. However, lately I find myself more and more wanting to withdraw, to shut down, to take myself out of the situation to avoid further hurt. As I see myself starting to act like this though, the above verse keeps ringing through my head- …love pays no attention to a suffered wrong. As much as we may want to stay in remembrance and guard my heart and my emotions, if we are doers of the Word we have to let things go. There is good news however, in the times when we are struggling God, in all His mercy, gives us a tool to help us. In 2 Corinthians 12 Paul was undergoing attack. In verses 8-9 he says 8Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me; 9But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! God gives us his grace, His ability in us allowing us to do what we could not do by ourselves, to help us forgive, to help us forget and to help us walk in His perfect love.