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Recently, I was talking with a man about forgiveness. He said that he had forgiven everyone in his life except one person. When I asked him who it was, he related a story about a family incident involving his brother that had taken place years ago.

When I asked why he couldn't forgive his brother, I got a strange answer. He said it was impossible for him to forgive his brother because his brother wouldn't forgive him.

Jesus said in Mark 11 that we were to forgive those who have wronged us. He didn't say that we were to forgive them if they forgive us. He said we were to forgive - if they love us or if they hate us, if they forgive us or don't forgive us. Even if they are holding a grudge and are doing everything in their power to destroy us, it doesn't matter. Whether or not they forgive us is irrelevant. Our responsibility is to forgive, unconditionally.

One woman told me she couldn't forgive a certain person because she had forgiven that person several times for the same offense. And even after all that forgiveness the other person continued to be offensive. She asked me how many times she should forgive this person. I told her "One more time." Any time you wonder how many times to forgive someone, that is the answer. Forgive them "one more time."

In Matthew 18:21 Peter went to Jesus and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered and said, "I do not say to you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven." In today's words, that would be like saying "up to a million times." Forgiveness has no limits. Forgiveness has no end.

The reason for forgiveness is not for the one being forgiven, but for the one who forgives. The one who forgives reaps all the benefits. What are the benefits of forgiveness? There are many, but one that we all need is peace. Forgiveness will give you peace.

Over the years I have met many people who will not forgive. They all have one thing in common. They are never at peace. When we are obedient to the Word of God, we will be at peace. The peace of God is beyond anything the world can give. Philippians 4:7 says, "and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

If we are not obedient to the Word of God and refuse to forgive, the only peace we will have is what we can glean from the world, and that's a poor substitute for the real thing.

Forgiveness will allow you to forget the pain of the past. In Jeremiah 31:34, the Bible says that God not only has the ability to forgive but also has the ability to forget. We, however; cannot forget the past, but through forgiveness we will forget the pain of the past. That's true peace - when you can remember, but there is no hurt or resentment. Try as you might, without forgiveness, it can't be done.

Daniel 9:9 says mercy and forgiveness belong to the Lord. God is a God of mercy and forgiveness. As Christians we are to mirror the character of God. We are to show mercy and we are to forgive.

So, when you become offended because someone has wronged you and wonder if you should forgive again, do this. Forgive, one more time.

Larry Ollison Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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