Forgiven much but I can’t forgive…

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“To forgive is to set the prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” ~ Lewis B. Smedes

“Then Peter came to Him (Jesus) and asked, ‘Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?’ ‘No, not seven times.’ Jesus replied, ‘but seventy times seven!’” Matthew 18:21, 22 NLT.
The beginning of the 18th chapter starts out with the disciples asking Jesus, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom?”  So Peter has definitely been listening as the Master has been teaching and he realizes that if you are going to be anything or anybody in the Kingdom you are going to have to be able to forgive.
Peter has been around a while. So when He asks the Lord how many times he should forgive his brother, he knew the number seven was God’s number. It represents the divine number of completion or perfection. God finished creating the earth in seven days.   “On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.” Genesis 2:2, 3 NLT.
And I do not believe Jesus was making light of Peter’s question when He responded with a mathematical impossibility! Jesus replied with another number containing seven, the number seventy. The number seventy is also the number that symbolizes our life span on this earth, according to Psalm 90:10, “The days of our lives are seventy years…” NIV.
Jesus told Peter  that we are to forgive those that sin against us, or hurt us, as long as we live! Not as long as we feel like it. Not until the feeling passes or we get over it. But we are to keep forgiving, even if they keep hurting us over and over again, as long as we are alive on this earth. It really has nothing to do with the other person; but it has everything to do with us.
Once we realize that it is a command, and that it is something we must be doing pretty much the rest of our lives, we had better adjust the matter of the heart. If the heart isn’t right we won’t be able to forgive. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31, 32. NLT.

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Forgive them even if they are not sorry. You don’t even forgive because they deserve it. We didn’t deserve it either. But you deserve peace. Many times they will not reciprocate. Many times they will not even care. Forgive anyway. It is simply impossible to experience the peace of God if we have not forgiven those who have hurt us.
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13 NLT.
Real forgiveness isn’t filled with expectations that the other person is going to undergo some miraculous change, or send a dozen long-stemmed, red roses and apologize. All you have to do is the forgiving. Love them, release them, and let it go.

After Jesus told Peter he was to forgive seventy times seven, He went on to tell the story of Forgiven Much, But I Can’t Forgive. In my own words, He says the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a King who wanted to collect his accounts from all of those servants who had borrowed money from him. One of the debtors, who owed him millions of dollars, couldn’t pay, so the king ordered that he and all of his family be sold to pay the debt. But the man fell down and begged him to be patient with him and he promised to pay it all. So the king had mercy and released him and forgave him the debt and let him go!
But when that forgiven man left the king, he went to a fellow servant, who owed him just a few thousand dollars, and he grabbed him by the throat and demanded that he pay him what he owed immediately. His friend fell down at his feet and begged for more time to come up with the money but no way would the forgiven man have any leniency on him and he had him arrested and put in prison until he could pay.

forgiven much

Some of the other servants had seen all that had happened and went and told the king because they were so upset. “Then the king called in the man that he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart. Matthew 18:32-35. NLT.
“ Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant just as I had mercy on you?”
Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37, 38 NLT.
Don’t let that bitterness take hold in your heart, it will literally grow and take root until it chokes the life out of you!

God is the Judge, let Him take care of who is right and who is wrong.

“Dear friends, never take revenge. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord.” Romans 12:19 NLT.
You cannot allow pride to stand in the way of forgiveness becoming a vitally important part of your Christian walk. Nor can you afford for it to become so common that it is a casual byline much as in the way we use the word love.  We also use that same word for many other things. We love chocolate, football, and puppies. We say,  “Love ya, man!” And, “I’m so in love with that dress!” We can’t treat forgiveness in the same manner. When we do take the time to forgive we must mean it and take it in all seriousness. We need to be specific and apologize sincerely, asking for forgiveness.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14, 15. NLT.
God is always pleased when we honor His Word, and His Word is pretty to the point on this one. If we don’t forgive our brother, He will not forgive us; and THAT is pretty plain.


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25 thoughts on “Forgiven much but I can’t forgive…

  1. Beth Willis Miller

    Nannette, I love this post…forgiveness is such a reflection of Christ in us, isn’t it? When we have been forgiven so much, all our sins, past, present, and future, for us to not be willing to forgive others would not reflect what we have so graciously been given…many blessings to you.

    1. Candace Jo Post author

      Yes, it truly is, Beth. I pray it is a regular part of my life but admittedly I stumble. Yet He still forgives!! Thank you for visiting and taking the time to comment. ♥

  2. tmpresser

    Thank you Candace Jo for sharing this great post with us at Good Morning Mondays. I think forgiveness is very important and I like that you tell us to forgive even if the person doesn’t respond, that is the key. It is our heart issue that we need to work on not anyone elses. A great reminder this morning. Thanks and blessings

    1. Candace Jo Post author

      Yes, amen, OUR heart issue, not everyone else. Blessings!!

  3. Kim Adams Morgan

    Hi Candace Jo, I knew I’d land on you again soon in the blog hops. Love your post. We cannot be forgiven by our Father and not give that gift freely to others. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to see this play out in our extended family over the last couple of years. We are also still waiting for a couple to get it. God will work in them. I’m writing about autoimmune today. Stop on by.

    1. Candace Jo Post author

      I am so glad you stopped by. I hadn’t seen your message but I had seen your tweet and went and read about your Sjogrens Syndrome and your harrowing doctor’s visit 🙁 Makes me sad and I pray God will open doors for you in your medical treatment and give you relief from your pain, in Jesus’ name! ♥

  4. Holly Barrett

    Oh boy is forgiveness hard. Thanks for the reminder of all the forgiveness we have received and the encouragement to step out in courage and faith to forgive others. It’s so hard when others don’t ask for forgiveness or we don’t feel they deserve it. But frankly I find myself in the same boat some days! Thankful for the grace of our Father!

    1. Candace Jo Post author

      I am guilty of the “when they don’t deserve it” 🙁 But yes, thankful for Grace! Thanks Holly!

  5. Karen Del Tatto

    This was a timely post for me. I was especially struck when you said, “God is the Judge, let Him take care of who is right and who is wrong.” and when you stated, “When you truly forgive, you can’t keep making them pay for past mistakes.”

    Thank you so much for sharing. I was convicted and encouraged at the same time. 🙂

    1. Candace Jo Post author

      So glad you stopped by Karen. I write to myself, hoping I will catch on someday 🙂 Blessings!

  6. Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

    I keep trying to comment, but it won’t let me. Amen to leaving our unforgiving thoughts in the hands of the One who has forgiven me. How freeing to turn it over to the God that can handle this far better than I can.

    1. Candace Jo Post author

      Sorry, Bev, I think sometimes first-time commenters have to be approved. But you are so welcome here! Thank you for taking the time to read and leave your thoughts. You are so right, it is so liberating! Blessings ♥

  7. Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

    I have had to learn, naturally the hard way, that when I hold on to unforgiveness, I am actually the prisoner. Holding grudges will slowly eat away at your heart. How freeing it is to turn it over to the one who forgave me of all my sins. He’s certainly big enough to handle it!

    1. Candace Jo Post author

      Yes, yes, we are the prisoners! He is more than able to handle it, amen. ♥

  8. richfaithrising

    Wow, Nannette! I never realized that before…that Jesus was asking Peter (and us) to forgive not just a hundred plus times…but for our entire life time. Oh how that changes things, expands my thinking, takes the limits of of our understanding of what true grace means!

    Great post today over at UNITE Link Party! Always so glad to see you there!

    1. Candace Jo Post author

      It did me too Jen! Grace is amazing, our God overwhelms us with it each and every day. Thank you for taking the time to stop by. ♥

  9. Ifeoma Samuel

    Hello Candace, I love this quote you shared here, ” When you truly forgive you can’t continue making them pay for their sins” . Forgiveness is Hard! But by His grace we can do it.
    Thank you so much.

    ***PS: I struggled to look for a “Home page” or “Recent Articles” tab. Sincerely, my opinion I think it will help navigating to latest articles.

    Many blessings to you

    1. Candace Jo Post author

      Thank you Ifeoma! I didn’t know my RECENT POSTS was missing, it has been restored. I am unsure about how to fix my home page but will check into it. Thank you kindly ♥

  10. Lisa Murray

    Love this, Candace! What a powerful quote, “To forgive is to set the prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” Thanks for sharing. #lifegivinglinkup
    Lisa Murray

    1. Candace Jo Post author

      Thank you for visiting Lisa! Blessings ♥

  11. Laurie Collett

    Praise God that He has forgiven us all our sins, once we have placed our faith in His Son! Yet it is so difficult for us to forgive, actually impossible due to our sin nature, unless we yield to His Holy Spirit. Linked up with you at Playdates with God — hope you’ll stop by Saved by Grace for a visit!

  12. rmclellan1949

    Thank you so much for sharing this post. I have some issues from the past that I think I’ve worked through and then they raise their ugly heads again. But I’ve learned that forgiveness isn’t a one time thing. Every time the past comes to my mind I don’t dweel on it but I ask God to help me forgive AGAIN. May that is a little of what God meant when he told Peter to forgive and keep forgiving. Blessings!

  13. Donna Reidland

    Great post. I love the C.S. Lewis quote! Thanks so much for linking up on Mondays @ Soul Survival. I’m pinning on my Mondays … Pinterest board so others can be blessed.


  14. messymarriage

    I’ve always loved this exchange between the Lord and Peter. It truly is representative of how we, as humans, want to handle forgiveness–as a “to-do list” that we can check off and be done with. But you’ve made the point beautifully, Nannette, that it is an ongoing, every single day for the rest of my life obligation as I pass on to other offenders the grace God gave me. I have no right to withhold it! Great and inspiring words, my friend! 🙂

    1. Candace Jo Post author

      I can’t make the forgiveness points as you do on Messy Marriage, but it is ever-so-important, married or not! 🙂 I agree, it is a DAILY obligation to “pass on to other offenders the grace God gave me”. I love that ♥ Thank you dear friend!!

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