I have never been a grudge holder. I despise the anger, separation, and conflict that it causes. Forgiveness just seems easier. In most cases, anyway. It is what releases the offender and the offended from potentially, and almost inevitably, producing more damage. Forgiveness is necessary for healing.
A wound left to fester will rot. Its stench seeps into the fibers of everything it comes in contact with. And if left untreated... the barer will die, slowly and painfully. I can't help but note the similarities in one who holds on to unforgiveness.
The struggle for me comes when the apologetic one continues the behavior. Not just once, or twice, but time after time. I continue to forgive, but each time it becomes more difficult. I begin to feel a numbness and yet a hardening. Numb to apologies and hard to any type of closeness with the individual. Am I alone?
I sense a kindred spirit in the one who asked Jesus, "How many times should I forgive? Seven times?" I mean, seven seems like a perfectly reasonable amount to allow for the same offense. Right? After that point they deserve to be shunned. Most people wouldn't even have given them a second chance. But no, that wasn't right. Seventy times seven, He said.
Sometimes I want to shake my fist at the heavens and yell, "DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS FEELS LIKE?!" But the answer would be "yes", He does, and how thankful I am that he also continues to forgive me. Not just seven times. Countless times. Seventy times seven. A lot. Could I be considered just as undeserving? Most definitely. It is humbling to think about, not to mention leaves me much less room to judge, if really I have any room to do so at all.
Christ not only died for my sins, he forgave me for them as well. The least I could do is also forgive. Seventy-times seven.