How to Become a Forgiveness Expert should be a required course for all human beings.
If we all became Forgiveness Experts, friendships would last a lifetime, families would never suffer years of discord and division, and the word ‘divorce’ would be erased from the dictionary.
Some say that to become an expert at anything, we need to put in the time. Author Malcolm Gladwell says the required hours to be an expert at anything is 10000 hours of deliberate practice.
No matter how many hours that it actually takes, striving for expertise on any subject requires focus, research, and daily practice in the desired skill.
Matthew 18 tells us: **Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. **
Time enough to become an expert! 70 times 7!!
What is Jesus trying to tell us about expertise in forgiveness? It takes daily, repetitive practice. In order to practice 10000 hours of forgiveness, that means that we are going to have to be in thousands of situations that offend us. We are going to have to put up with little offenses and big ones. There will be thousands of conversations in our lifetime with many someones that will insult us, criticize us, and think the worst of us when we are only trying to help.
We will be revealed as forgiveness experts or only as novices by our reactions to friends, siblings, parents, bosses, and our spouses. We are going to be tested by these relationships every day. At times it will be easy to forgive, other times are going to test us to the max. Everyday will be a test. Sometimes we will fail miserably.
It is important to understand that if we have not successfully practiced forgiving others for the little things they do that offend or irritate us from day to day, we will never be able to forgive them for the really big blunders. We cannot jump from forgiving someone for insulting us to forgiving them for stealing our car in one day. We need to have those 1,000s of hours of practice with many small things before we will be capable of forgiving a major offense. If we do not learn to forgive our spouse from offense to offense, disagreement to disagreement, we will find it overwhelming to try and forgive them for spending all the money in our savings.
How do we become forgiveness Experts? Practice, practice, practice!!
If we hope to Become a Forgiveness Expert, we will not only need daily practice, but we will need to do some research on how to improve our forgiveness skills.
There are many books written on Forgiveness in both Christian and Secular circles. We are going to need to read some of them. As we read, we will need to be discerning in their advice that they give.
Do these authors encourage a 70 x 7 times approach to forgiveness? Do they teach the two essential parts of forgiveness that the Lord demonstrates in the way He treats us?
What are these two essential parts to forgiveness?
1.The merciful act of giving someone another chance to correct their behavior
2. Forgetting the offense and giving the person a clean slate
Jesus, of course, is the only One that is a True Expert at Forgiveness. He is forever Rich in Mercy and sends our sins as far as the east is from the west, never to be seen or mentioned again. He doesn’t revisit our offenses in His Holy mind, day after day. He doesn’t remind us of them either. He doesn’t whisper in our ear how many times we have failed at something.
Two Additional Benefits of becoming a Forgiveness Expert:
It will increase our faith according to Luke 17
We will be more like God according to Ephesians 4:32
Learning to be a Forgiveness Expert is going to require deliberate focus. We will not be allowed to let our emotions decide for us if we are going to forgive someone or not. We will have to decide that we will forgive first and learn over time to erase the act from our minds and get our emotions in check.
Becoming a Forgiveness Expert requires us to practice daily forgiving the words and actions of others when they do not align with our idea of correct behavior. We are going to have to dig into the Bible and other quality books and learn more about how to forgive when our heart wants to hate or hurt the one who hurt us. Finally, it is going to take laser focus and determination to respond with the heart of Jesus Christ. Our self will not want to, but, our soul demands it from us.
Would not our world be very different if we all learned How to Become a Forgiveness Expert? Wouldn’t it be different even if all the Christians became Forgiveness Experts? I think it would. I realize that that won’t really happen until the Lord comes back, but wouldn’t it be amazing to give it a try?