Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22
For most of my life, I assumed that the reason Jesus told Peter to forgive another was for the benefit of the other person. It seemed like a lot to require of anyone, and it still does.
The older I get, the more inclined I am to see how forgiveness benefits the forgiver as much or more than the one forgiven. To be released from that acid gnawing away at body and spirit that corrodes the very heart of my being until I forgive is a grace bordering on the miraculous.
Is releasing another from a burden of guilt, of restoring another’s inner peace, too high a price for the reprieve from my own suffering?
[Daily Peace: Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2015; photos by Marek Minch and Elena Alyukova-Sergeeva. For more on this series, click Daily Meds above.]