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It’s the 70 times 7 times that really bugs us, right?

What’s easy to talk about and hard to do?

It’s the 70 times 7 times that really bugs us, right?

What’s easy to talk about and hard to do? I mean, besides dieting?

Of course – forgiveness. As forgiven people, shouldn’t this be incredibly simple, a “no-brainer”? Why is it so tough then? In the Lord’s Prayer, we are reminded that as His disciples we are forgiven to the extent that we forgive others! 

Fortunately, anybody who is anybody has spoken on this sometime. So we present the three lessons of “Forgiveness 101”:

One, it makes good blooming common sense to forgive! 

Why pay the price of unforgiveness? Hannah More tells it as it really stings: “A Christian will find it cheaper to pardon than to resent. Forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, and the waste of spirit.”

Forgiveness is that powerful pill we swallow that brings real health to our bones and being. Just imagine: when someone forgives, he comes closest to imitating God!

Two, in forgiving, we are more selfish than we think.

Often, when we are asked to forgive someone, we are cast as the “superior or better” person. Not from Doc Childre and Howard Martin’s view: “In the long run, it’s not a question of whether they deserve to be forgiven. You’re not forgiving them for their sake. You’re doing it for yourself. For your own health and well-being, forgiveness is simply the most energy-efficient option. It frees you from the incredibly toxic, debilitating drain of holding a grudge. Don’t let these people live rent free in your head. If they hurt you before, why let them keep doing it year after year in your mind? It’s not worth it but it takes heart effort to stop it. You can muster that heart power to forgive them as a way of looking out for yourself. It’s one thing you can be totally selfish about.”

What a gift we give ourselves when we forgive – the gift of peace, love and happiness plus the gift of forgiving ourselves!

Three, remember: isn’t forgiving easier than forgetting?

Despite all the wisecracks about women finding it easier to forgive than forget; and men not even recalling what they have forgiven, David McArthur & Bruce McArthur insist that more wisdom takes place at the point of forgiveness: “Many people are afraid to forgive because they feel they must remember the wrong or they will not learn from it. The opposite is true. Through forgiveness, the wrong is released from its emotional stranglehold on us so that we can learn from it. Through the power and intelligence of the heart, the release of forgiveness brings expanded intelligence to work with the situation more effectively.” 

Alright, but isn’t it human to identify with what Ivern Ball expressed: “Most of us can forgive and forget; we just don’t want the other person to forget that we forgave.” One more witness (Marianne Williamson) to the stand, please: “Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.”

Does 70 times 7 times now make sense (Matthew 18:21-22)? No need for 490 to kick in first. Just do it!

There, easier said than done! 

Dr Andrew Goh is the honorary editor of Impact magazine.

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