When Peter asked Jesus how many times he had to forgive someone who sinned against him, Jesus told him, “seventy-seven times,” a Semitic way of saying something like “every time, every day, for the rest of your life” (Matthew 18:21). But sometimes the pain of what has happened to us is so deep that we wonder if we will ever be able to forgive.
That’s where Linda was—bitter, broken, and unable to forgive her former husband. And she’s not alone. Think of the mother whose young daughter was sexually abused by a family member. Think of the man whose wife is killed by a drunk driver. Or think of the woman whose husband lost all their money gambling. Situations like these can be so traumatic that forgiveness seems simply out of the question.
At the same time, there are a number of smaller offenses that, given the right circumstances, can inflict a lot of pain. Think about how someone who is already hurting from many other wounds might react to a bit of gossip or a broken promise. They may be small offenses in the grand scheme of things, but they can still make that person just as bitter and unforgiving the larger offenses…
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