DayBreaks for 3/09/16: More Than the Stars of Heaven
NOTE: Galen will be traveling for the next 10 days or so. You will be receiving messages from the DayBreaks archive during that time!
From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:
I wonder how many times in my marriage I’ve had to ask my wife to forgive me? Or, perhaps more to the point, how many times in my marriage I SHOULD have asked her to forgive me (but let’s not go there!) Sometimes we get tired of asking for forgiveness. And there’s something about having to ask the same person so many times that makes it more difficult than just having to ask a stranger to forgive us just once. Yet it is the truth of the human nature that we do seem to hurt those that we love the most. Perhaps that’s because we take them for granted, assuming that since they’re bound to us by marriage vows that they’ll always be there. Now there’s a bad assumption – although in God’s design we should be there for one another until our lives end. Perhaps it has more to do with the fact that we spend more time with those we love than with others – and that may be the reason we need to ask them to forgive us so often.
We wrestle with forgiveness. Not only do we find it hard to ask for forgiveness, but we find it hard to extend forgiveness. If you’re looking for consolation, perhaps there is some to be found in knowing that the disciples had a hard time forgiving, too. It seems that they were aware, keenly so, of how many times they were forgiving others – and seemed to show no awareness of how many times they have needed forgiveness from God or others. And so, in their boldness, they asked how many times they HAD to forgive others. You know the response: no, not 7 times…but infinitely more (70 times 7!)
Eldon Degge put it well in his poem:
“Blessed is every forgiving heart who forgives his brother not seven times, but seventy times seven.
Blessed is every considerate mind who knows that God has forgiven him, not seventy seven times seven, but more than the stars of heaven.”
Who are you having a hard time forgiving right now? When was the last time that you were hurt, offended? How did you respond? When was the last time YOU needed to seek forgiveness from God for some word, some thought, some action done or left undone? If you were to compare the number of times that you’ve had to forgive someone else to the number of times God has extended gracious forgiveness to you, how do you think the scales would tip?
TODAY’S PRAYER: God, our Father Who lives in heaven, but for your forgiving heart we are undone! We are so quick to strike back at those who hurt us and so slow to forgive them, counting our forgiveness as if it cost us so much. Help us to remember what Your forgiveness cost you. Help us to understand the huge discrepancy between the number of our sins and how often we forgive others. Teach us to be forgiving and loving. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.