Forgiveness and renewal
Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but I tell you, seventy-seven times. — Matthew 18:21–22
The response Jesus gives after Peter asks how many times we must forgive leads us to the importance of reconciliation in our lives. Our greatest example is Jesus, and through Jesus’ actions and words we are able to receive glimpses into how we, too, can approach reconciliation that results in greater peace and unity for all.
As we prepare our hearts and minds during this time of Lent, and reflect on our own lives and relationships, let us do so with this Scripture passage as a lens to look through. What might it look like to go beyond the act of forgiving, maybe even seven times, and move into the deep work of restoration? How can that help change our relationships, change our hearts, and to lead to a more whole community — one that seeks restitution for the wrongs and harm done in the past.
I pray that we will be a people who seek reconciliation, that we will take time to ask God where this reconciliation can be done within our relationships and that we may use Jesus as our guide.
Lord, strengthen us so we do not grow weary in the process of forgiveness and renewal. I pray that your Spirit guides us to work on the relationships we have so that we can find the wholeness and the peace that you so desire. In Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.
Shalom: The Way to Hope
Written by Susan Rheem and Ivy Lopedito