(Written in January 2017)

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


Jesus knew all about forgiving. He came to do a lot of it. Remember how He was abandoned by his disciples leading up to the time of His crucifixion? He was left virtually deserted facing a lonely journey back to His Father. Crucified as evil, though He had loved and given so much.

Jesus – human, though God – must have suffered greatly, as would we, to be abandoned at such a time.

But Jesus forgave those who deserted Him. He forgives all who sin, including you and me if we believe in who He is. Consider the great gift of finding such forgiveness!

After the resurrection, forgetting how He had been hurt, Jesus carried on with what currently faced Him. All that was on His mind was preparing His disciples for when He would physically no longer be with them. Paying no attention to how these friends had abandoned Him, He gathered them together, and proceeded to give them instructions on how to go out and take His message to the world. There was no time or reason to think of what was past.

Do you find it hard to live in the present when traumatic memories haunt you? Do you find it hard to forget the past and carry on as normal? God understands and offers compassion. His son Jesus was hurt too.

But God also offers hope.

Neurological understanding explains how a traumatized brain can change when the mind, body and emotions consistently experience a wholesome and secure life. Traumatic memories can gradually fade away. Healing becomes possible.

This very day each of us has opportunities to create such wholesome ways of living – ways of living that will help free us from yesterday’s pain. It can happen when more positive thoughts fill our minds, when more engaging activities fill our time, when we forgive those who hurt us and work towards reconciliation. The very act of focusing on something new and promising will make a difference. We will not think so much about the past.

What we suffer can’t compare with what Jesus went through. Nevertheless God has a reason for the pain we suffer as well. He can use our hurts and transform us to better serve His purposes. Suffering leads to new God-given strength. As Jesus told the apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9)

What is your reality? The present or the past? The new or the old? What kind of brand-new reality could God help you pursue that would help your painful past fade away?

What does God have waiting for you?



Reference: The Body Keeps Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.