Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?
"No not seven times" Jesus replied, "but seventy times seven!"
There are times when I am led to pray with people who are very hurt and have major issues with something. I am no counselor nor very wise, so I have to leave the words to God so that He can lead me in prayer to help the person who has asked for healing and peace.
Many times the person has an issue with forgiveness. They find it hard to forgive another person, situation or even God. Because of this their peace of mind is shattered and they can are angry, frustrated and dis at ease. They see the fault with the other person. But where does the real problem lie?
We can all take things the wrong way, get the wrong end of the stick, fester on an old wound which rears its ugly head when a word or action is said or done. Quite simply we are human. But ought we to allow others to attack our peace of mind and then ruminate over the hurt word or action for days, months or even years? Of course this is easier said than done, we have all been there and no doubt done exactly that.
When a person says 'I need prayer because someone has hurt me', the first thing I ask is, "have you forgiven them?", and secondly, "have you forgiven yourself for listening to them?" Usually there is a pause. Sometimes there is a 'yes' to the first question and a silence to the second, or a 'no' to the first question and a 'why do I need to forgive myself, I am not the one who has caused the problem?'
Forgiveness before healing.
It is easy to see why we need to forgive someone for hurting us, it is sometimes harder to see that we need to forgive ourselves for listening to the lies that the other person planted in our minds that are causing our lack of peace. We want to blame the other person, expect them to say sorry for their unkindness, to realize they have caused us unhappiness, we want them to take responsibility for their cruel actions towards us. Because of this we often don't see our need to forgive ourselves in a response to such things.
(Just to make something clear I am not talking about heinous crimes, where hurts are forced upon people.)
Sometimes writing things down can help, then we can see where we have listened to the wrong voice.
Here is an example.
A work colleague starts a rumour that I am jealous of her because she is better at her job. She is saying that I am telling others that she is lazy and incompetent.
My reaction, I feel hurt, upset and angry because I have not acted nor thought in that way. I want her to stop lying and talk to me about why she is being so unkind. She refuses and continues to spread the gossip. Work begins to become unbearable as others listen to the wrong story. I am seen as the bad guy.
I try to forgive, but the words and actions are eating away at me. Why are they eating away at me? They are causing me a problem because I have not forgiven myself for listening to them. If I write them down I will know that they are not true. They cannot harm me because they are founded on lies.
God is in the Truth, I must place this hurt at His feet to allow His precious blood to heal me and my response to this lie.
Once I have found peace with God and accepted His Truth, His understanding of forgiveness into my life, I can then go on to forgive the person for their actions. I can pray into the situation, call on the Truth and claim God's victory. This is the Amen. To add the Alleluia I then need to pray blessings on the person who has hurt me.
I have seen great healing occur when praying with people who have taken this path.
When we understand that we have to forgive ourselves as well as others, not seven times but seventy times seven we see the Power that is offered to us by God, who with His help can bring us closer to Him through the communion of forgiveness.
"If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you."