As I open my eyes, the thoughts start to flood back into my consciousness. The same rehearsed dialogue rushes through like a wave crashing on the beach. I try to change my thoughts but the injustice of the situation can’t leave my mind and heart. It has been days of continuing this dialogue in my head with nothing but feelings of anger to show for it.
I know I must stop the feelings and thoughts that keep pounding in my brain. But how? To receive healing from the unforgiveness that has bound me like a tight rope around my throat, I need to go to the only source that has power.
I opened my Bible and turned to Matthew 18:21. Peter is asking Jesus the same question that I have asked. How many times do we have to forgive? It states: “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’
Then Jesus answers him with words that initially I don’t want to hear. How many times do I have to endure the injustice by the same person before I can justify these feelings? “Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:22
Seventy- seven times! Why seventy-seven? There is something in the number that just came to me yesterday. Seven is an extremely important number to God. Didn’t God create seven days in a week? Weren’t there seven churches, seven angels, seven seals for the seven scrolls addressed in the book of Revelations? Didn’t Joshua and the nation of Israel walk around the walls of Jericho seven times before God tore the walls down? I could go on and on but what I discovered when thinking about the importance to forgive is that even this word has seven letters. How cool is that?
Another insight that was given to me about the importance to forgive has to do with the Biblical meaning of the number seven. This number represents completion, totality, or divine perfection. In the same manner, I believe Jesus used this number regarding forgiveness because he wants us to know that without it, we cannot feel complete in who we are as followers of Christ.
I finally feel equipped to move on and truly forgive from my heart. Not because I have to, but because I want a relationship with Christ that can’t exist in my previous state of incompleteness. If I truly trust in him as my Lord, than I need to be convinced that he wants what is best for me. And I think he has made it abundantly clear that it starts with forgiveness.