Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.” – Matthew 18:21-22
The best way indicator of whether or not you’ve truly forgiven someone is your reaction when they repeat the offense. Can you forgive them a second time for the same hurt? What about a fourth, tenth, seventeenth, or thirty-eighth time?
True forgiveness is hard, and it’s even harder when I am trying to forgive someone on my own steam. I may think I have it under control and that I have sufficient strength of my own, but then I see how I react when they find a new, unexpected way to hurt me. Then I see so clearly how little ability I have to forgive someone with this heart of mine.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. – Matthew 5:43-48
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9