490 Chances

I Corinthians 13-4-7 4Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boiledover with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.  5It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].  6It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.  7Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. 8Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].

Love takes no account of the evil done to it, it doesn’t remember a suffered wrong. That can be a hard thing to do! Not only should we not pay attention when someone does us wrong, but we aren’t supposed to remember it either!  How many of us don’t have a problem with forgiving, but when it comes to forgetting we have the memory of an elephant? In 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 can picture this scene in my head. Jesus is teaching his disciples about many different things, and Peter pipes up, “How many times should I forgive? Would seven times be enough?” It seems that he thought that was a lot, that it would be a great accomplishment to offer forgiveness that many times. Jesus probably smiled indulgently at him and answered, “Good question Peter, but actually, you must forgive 490 times”. Jesus was making the point that when you think you’ve already forgiven, keep on forgiving. When you feel that you don’t want to give someone a second or third or fourth chance, keep forgiving. 
When one day you stand before God, He is going to ask you about your life. He might say,” What about when you didn’t forgive your sister and you held bitterness and resentment in your heart toward her?” You might answer, “God, you don’t know what she did to me. She hurt me, she defamed my character, and she was awful to me my whole life.”  God’s response might be, “I understand you suffered hurt, embarrassment, and pain because of your sister’s actions, however right now I am only talking to you. What did you do when she hurt you? What was your response?” The only thing you are responsible for is your behavior. The only thing you will be accountable for is your own actions. The way others treat you, the things that others do to you are between them and God. In Matthew 5:39-44 Jesus says 39But I say to you, Do not resist the evil man [who injures you]; but if anyone strikes you on the right jaw or cheek, turn to him the other one too.   40And if anyone wants to sue you and take your undershirt (tunic), let him have your coat also.  41And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two [miles]. 42Give to him who keeps on begging from you, and do not turn away from him who would borrow [at interest] from you. 43You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy; 44But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. I encourage you today to make a conscious choice to not only forgive those who do you wrong, but also to forget what they did to you.

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