I don’t always get along with my husband. Shocking! I know!
Sometimes I want to stay mad at him even when he apologizes. I want him to know just how hurt or mad I am and I don’t want him to think he can get away with whatever it was that he did or didn’t do by just saying the words, “I’m sorry.”
But that’s not what Jesus wants me to do. Let’s look at what he told Peter.
At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?”
Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.Matthew 18:21-22 (MSG)
If I’m hearing him right, it doesn’t matter how many times I feel hurt or mad, I am to forgive him. I know my husband loves me. I know he never means to hurt my feelings. Just like I don’t intend to hurt his feelings. Neither of us are perfect. Neither of us are operating at one hundred percent all the time, or any time for that matter.
It may take a minute to forgive someone you know who loves you, but what about outside your inner circle? Do we have to be nice and get along with them? Let’s look.
Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.Romans 12:16-18 (NLT)
That cinches it. Don’t pay back evil with more evil. In other words, don’t hurt someone who hurts you. Notice it doesn’t say stick around and let them pour all their evil on you. It does say do what you can to live in peace. Another translation says “if possible, so far as it depends on you.”
These verses reveal the importance God places on relationships. In fact, there are many more scriptures that speak to his desire for us to get along. I would add one more thing, since Jesus expects us to forgive others seventy times seven, I believe he would agree we should be willing to forgive ourselves seventy times seven.
Grace & Peace,