It hurts. It involves reliving the pain of a wound inflicted. It means even though I've decided to forgive and embraced the pain of forgiving – today – this hour – this minute - I am committed to doing so another 70 x 7s. Every time the ugy act is remembered – every time I am confronted with the pain of an undeserved blow that – like falling dominoes – multiplies as others are drawn into the fray; every time I am forced to rebuild a wall that someone has thoughtlessly torn down; whenever I am overcome with the anguish of betrayel – and like a lamb I was fattened for the kill; when lies were told against me resulting in the ruin of my reputation; when someone – out of meaness strikes a killing blow; even when no one cares – I must forgive.
NOT forget – but forgive. Only God can perfectly forget. To forgive does not mean that we forget the offense ever happened, and we go back to acting as if it never occurred. It means to bear the pain of the offense – give full recognition to the offense and still love, still refuse to retaliate, every time it comes to mind, even if that's 70 x 7 a day.
We are not to distinguish between what sins done against us are “manageable”, and which are overwhelmingly unbearable. Which are deserved – and which are not.
We are to forgive – love in spite of the pain. And if any one of us isn't sure what that means or what that looks like, then go to 1 Corinthians 13. Hold your thoughts, feelings and actions up against this chapter to see where you fall short. Forgiveness is not about sin, but it's about ME and how I react to sin.
Jesus was a man of sorrows – His life was filled with the pain of the betrayel of those He loved. And His response in the midst of that kind of pain – was – and still is – to forgive – to love.
Why did Jesus say that we are to forgive 70 x 7 times? Because He understood that the offense will come to mind 70 x 7 times (or more) and each time we must forgive. Forgiveness is not a one time event. It is 70 x 7.
There are 7 days in a week, and we are to forgive every day of the week – no exceptions. And just as the number 7 represents perfection or completeness, so forgiveness is God's love perfected in me and in you.