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A devotion to help you release the weight of resentment and truly forgive.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21–22 (NIV)
A coworker had made some choices that made my job ten times harder. Again. In the past year, I’d had ample opportunities to practice forgiveness because of her actions. Some issues could be resolved, but many times I was left with problems she wouldn’t take responsibility for, problems I had to untangle. Each time I prayed and asked for the grace to forgive and find a way to have a healthy work situation.
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A new e-mail from her dumped yet another unnecessary problem into my lap. I pushed away from my desk, letting my righteous indignation take over my thoughts. I’d tried to understand, worked to negotiate. But now I’d had it.
I pictured myself as a poor pack mule, loaded down with hassles and unneeded problems placed on me by the irresponsible coworker. Rubbing my throbbing temples, I glanced upward. “Lord, this is the last straw.”
Have you been collecting those straws? The gentle voice of Jesus interrupted my rant. Of course I hadn’t. I’d forgiven. Seven times seventy, just like He said. Except, if I’d truly forgiven, I wouldn’t feel weighted by this huge collection of straws. There would be only this latest offense to forgive... a much easier task.
A rueful smile tugged my lips. “You’re right. I’ve been keeping a tally. I mentally rehearse all the evidence of how rough I have it because of her. Forgive me. And help me forgive.”
Faith step: Grab a backpack or shoulder bag. Thinking of someone who irritates you, review each grudge, and with each, place a soup can or sauce jar in the bag. Feel the heavy weight of those “last straws.” Thank Jesus that you don’t have to carry that weight anymore, and as you put away the cans, forgive each grudge and let it go.