Matthew 18:21-22

I never connected grief with forgiveness until my pastoral visit to an older lady whose husband passed away several months before. The couple had been faithful companions since their high school days, and she deeply missed him. On this visit, however, she expressed resentment and anger. “I don’t know if I can ever forgive him for leaving me like that, for dying,” she said. This honest reaction may surprise us, but it highlights the link between grief and forgiveness. 

When Peter asks Jesus how often he should forgive, Jesus tells him to get out a proverbial calculator. Why so many times? We are to keep crunching the numbers because Jesus intends for us to be habitual forgivers.

Many circumstances in our lives will hamper our forgiving others or ourselves. Part of what Jesus tells Peter, and the rest of us, is to pursue forgiveness so that it becomes second nature to us, an instinctive part of our lives. Being a forgiving person means learning to forgive those little annoyances that we normally overlook, but that build up over time. It seems as though God is instructing us not to move on so fast. We should offer forgiveness as an expression of our daily prayers. Let tangible, intentional acts of forgiving express our gratitude for God’s forgiveness to us. Growing our capacity to forgive will help us face the most difficult situations in life, including grief. Forgiveness is the path to the abundant life Jesus desires for us all.

When I spoke to the grieving widow again, she had forgiven her deceased husband, though it was difficult. She was in a much better place at that point. Drawing on the forgiveness God offers us and learning to extend it in ways great and small has a lot to do with that.


When has practicing small acts of forgiveness helped you in situations when forgiving was more difficult? 


God, may forgiving be an essential part of my daily prayer life. Amen.

Source link