So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them, and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ,’I repent’, you must forgive them.” Luke 17: 3, 4
Jesus is speaking these words. He is teaching His disciples, and gives them this instruction. It is a command, forgive your brother and sister when they sin, and ask for your forgiveness.
Each one of us is guilty of sin. Why is it hard to see other’s faults, but not our own? For most people, it is hard to ask for forgiveness, and just as hard to forgive. As imperfect people, we hurt each other.
I have had to ask for forgiveness on so many occasions, and haven’t asked for it enough. I’ve needed to forgive on many occasions, and haven’t forgiven enough. I have no right to withhold restitution from someone who asks, because I have sinned so much, and been forgiven of so much.
David sinned with Bathsheba. Bathsheba was a beautiful young lady who was bathing on a rooftop. David saw her. He was a king, and he sent for her. Bathsheba was married to a man who was a commander in David’s army. David tried to get Uriah home from the war front, so he would sleep with his wife, so that if she became pregnant, Uriah would think the baby was his. Uriah wouldn’t sleep with his wife, because he thought of his men in battle. He was an honorable man. David had him killed in battle, and he thought that would be the end of the story.
However, David’s sin was exposed by a prophet of God. The little baby that was born to Bathsheba was sick. David grieved, fasted, and prayed for the baby, but it died. David was so remorseful of the things he had done. He wrote Psalm 51. The first few verses are these:
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness; according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin; For I acknowledge my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me.
This was an example of true repentance. Sometimes, we can’t ask for forgiveness. The people we have wronged are gone. God understands the conviction that comes from our offenses, and knows our desire to be forgiven. If at all possible, we need to forgive, and ask for forgiveness when we are able. God honors that. When others cannot forgive though, God is willing and able to forgive us for Jesus’s sake.
I think of those in prison, when their sin is exposed, many are truly sorrowful, and desire forgiveness. God is willing to forgive even the sins we think are unforgivable. David was a murderer, and committed adultery. He also coveted Uriah’s wife. When David repented, God forgave. Have hope that God is able to forgive when we ask, and He asks that we forgive others as He forgave us.
Lord, please forgive me, and as You command, help me to forgive others. Life is so hard, and many of us have made really big mistakes. Like David, I also know that You are merciful. Please forgive and help me. Thank You!