Well…what flavor is it? Cherry? Mint? Vanilla? Citrus?
Because whatever flavor it is, it has to be pretty darn good for you to not taste the scathing poison behind it; it sure must be the ‘bees-knees’ for you not to realize that with every swing, a piece of you is dying a little on the inside.
This phenomenal Kool-Aid I’m talking about is none other than a nice, chilled bottle of unforgiveness.
Matthew 18 states:
21“At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?”
22 Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.”
For Peter to have to “[get] up the nerve to ask” Jesus this famous biblical question, you can tell this has been eating him on the inside for quite some time. Someone did him wrong. And it clearly wasn’t the first or second time that this person wronged him, because his suggested number to Jesus was pretty high: seven. Whoever this brother or sister was, they got under Peter’s skin, to the point that the bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness that he held gave him enough courage to ask Jesus about it, even though he seemed nervous about it.
But I love Jesus’ answer ya’ll!
It’s almost as if he regards Peter’s own answer as pathetic – like, “are you kidding me?!” kind of pathetic. Seven times doesn’t even come close to the actual number.
This is how I imagine Jesus gave his response: He purses his lips, tilts his head to the left and gives Peter a look that says “Really? Try again, man”. Maybe, he lets out a “Ha!” reflecting the novice character of Peter’s question. “Try seventy time seven”. In other words, “Try, a bajillion times, dude!”
Let me be very clear about this: People WILL offend you. I mean, every ounce of your being will be wronged by people on this Earth. It’s all part of the Circle of Life. After all, no one is perfect. And they won’t do it just once or five times. No my dear, practically almost everyday for the rest of your life, someone will do you wrong. And it is only natural that we respond with a reluctant attitude towards forgiveness. I mean, it doesn’t make sense for just one person to be wronged so many times, and then simply let go. Completely unnatural! Completely twisted!
But we have been called to do the unnatural, not because Jesus likes seeing us squirm under His challenges, but because He knows that a life of forgiveness equals total and complete freedom. You see, with every hurt, pain, wrong, and bitterness that we clasp unto because of someone else, it is exactly like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. We are not “punishing” the other person when, before bed every night, we reminisce of those times he/she went under our skin, while that very person is living their own lives, possibly unaware of the hurt they caused us. Our refusal to let go of that drink, is a refusal to get well emotionally, spiritually, and physically. With every sip, we are purposely handing over the wheel to our lives to the devil. With every slurp, we are intentionally telling the world that we are incapable of giving and receiving love. With every chug, we invite sicknesses and diseases to manifest in our bodies, preventing us from living the life we are destined to live.
So I’m begging you, let the poison go. Smash the bottle, pour it down the drain, set it on fire, do what you need to do to be free from the addiction. We need to start the healing process because our lives and destiny are at stake. We will never be able to give control of our lives to the One who should be controlling it, if we keep giving it to other people. That’s a journey destined for disaster. Trade in the poisonous Kool-Aid for a glass of water and then, better yet, share it with the very one who hurt you. By letting them know that you forgive them and are able to genuinely live with true forgiveness in your heart, you not only live a burden-free life but challenge them too to pursue such a lifestyle. And be ready to do it all over again a bajillion times. Why? Because that’s exactly how many times God forgave you too, and is still forgiving you.