Read (from the New Living Translation)

Matthew 6:14

If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.

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Is forgiveness a one-time thing? Joy from The Carlos & Joy Show shares how she’s learning to answer this question.

Choosing to forgive someone is not just a pivotal moment, but the beginning of a process.

I wish someone would have told me that a long time ago!

It has always been hard for me to forgive. I can blame it on my overactive emotional memory. I can recall a single moment from years ago and remember how someone made me feel. That is a beautiful gift if the exchange was wonderful, but a curse if it was painful. Maybe you are like me that you can almost relive the moment when someone really truly hurt you in your mind and play back every detail.

Even after I decide to forgive, I am still hurt. I am still angry.

I have read in Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Powerful words that remind me how important it is to forgive. But as much as I have searched and scrounged through scripture, I have never found a verse saying it’s a magic trick to a transformed heart.

When my roommate up and left me all alone in an apartment I couldn’t afford…

When the guy I thought was “the one” broke my heart and left me in tears…

When my friend broke a promise that was really important to me…

I was angry and knew I needed to forgive them. Even though none of them came to me and asked for forgiveness, I knew I couldn’t be free of my own hurt and anger until I learned to first forgive.

Now, I am no master forgiver because some of my hurts took many months of counseling and seeking help to learn to let go of and forgive. But what I discovered over and over was releasing the anger and bitterness towards my offender to God did not immediately take away all the hurt.

I was always surprised to find the emotions would come back when I least expected it and I would have to forgive the person ALL OVER AGAIN!

I felt like I must be doing it wrong until I remembered this scripture, Matthew 18:21-22, “Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”

I don’t think God just shared that with us to help us keep a better count of how many times people offend us, but because he knows our spirits will need to forgive people over and over. It’s a process but I think that’s the point. Forgiveness is yet another thing that I cannot do on my own, but it is suppose to teach me to rely more on God. Repeatedly giving God my hurt and anger and asking him to help my heart forgive draws me closer to him and reminds me that forgiveness is not something I can rock at on my own.

It doesn’t matter how many times I need to forgive someone as long as I keep doing it. Each time I have brought a situation back to God and realized that I need to posture my heart in a place of forgiveness yet again, God is so good to work away at my hurt until it slowly lessens and eventually heals.

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132 Comments on "Day 3: How Long Should Forgiveness Take?"

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Wayne Vogt
Guest
I grew up in an alcoholic house hold when I was young. My dad eventually died of Liver disease do to that alcoholism. To this day I sometimes think back and think about the way he was and I get SO ANGRY. I totally understand what Joy means by an “Overactive Emotional Memory”. There are times when the anger surfaces and, to this day, sometimes, I just shut myself out and go hide and be angry. Dad died in ’93 but even to this day I need God’s help DESPERATELY to forgive and move on. Listening to Wally’s devotional yesterday… Read more »
Spechuls
Member

When we struggle with repeatedly forgiving someone, it’s important to remember that God forgives us as we forgive others. We don’t seek God’s forgiveness for just one incident. Even when we repent and do our best to “walk the walk”, we still all slip up now & then…we ask for God’s repeated forgiveness!

Pastor Dave WAY-FM
WAY-FM

Wayne, you are both humble & eloquent. Thank you for encouraging us all today to keep following our Lord!

Amelia
Guest
Thank you for your words of understanding and encouragement. I am going through a similar process right now with my in-laws. My fiancés father is a binge alcoholic and currently, under a lot of stress and relying heavily on his drinking crutch. It is painful and difficult to see the father that my fiancé wishes to please and make proud verbally abuse his family and call his son a looser and a disgrace over and over again. This environment is something entirely new to me. My father was a very responsible and constructive disciplinarian figure to my siblings and I,… Read more »
Member

Great insight!

Raejean Landis
Member
Thanks for sharing this. I really have never looked at it this way. I am so glad to know that we have the opportunity to forgive repeatedly even if we think we have already done it once. I know God is able to forgive and forget. As human beings with a sinful nature this is very difficult. I strive to forget and move on but it is very difficult. May we all be refreshed and renewed by the power of forgiveness. Praying that I will do my best to let things go and let God’s love work and move through… Read more »
Cody D
Member

We can forgive, but only God can truly forgive and forget.

Pastor Dave WAY-FM
WAY-FM

Cody, so true!

Kathy
Member
Thanks Joy, I too am in this walk. I forgive and it comes back and I have to forgive again. It is a hard road sometimes but knowing that this is the way of the journey and that turning it back to God and asking for your heart to forgive draws you closer to the father and healing. There are some people that I must forgive and am still walking this walk and cannot fully forgive after almost 50 years as it keeps cycling back around. With this perspective I see that this is the journey that God expects of… Read more »
Jennie
Member

Thank you for sharing! It is so difficult when you know you are supposed to forgive but those painful emotions will not go away. When I can’t let go of the anger or the sadness, it makes me feel guilty. Like I am not really a Christ follower in my heart. That leads to a thought that I deserve the pain I am feeling. Thank you for reminding us that you don’t have to deal with the emotions on your own and that you can let God heal them.

Renee
Guest

Thank you Jennie for putting into words what is going on in my mind and heart. Turning it over to God will always free us and bring us closer to Him.

Knenoff00
Member

I have a hard time forgiving myself of past sins. The devil tried to put in my head that that sin isn’t forgivable. That there is no hope. It is something I struggle with often. I forgive others easily but can’t forgive myself.

Stephanie Easley
Member

I agree, I have a harder time forgiving myself! Forgiving others seems to come very easy for me. I am so thankful for God’s grace and love.

Pastor Dave WAY-FM
WAY-FM

Side with God, Knenoff00, you always win! 2 Corinthians 10.3-5. You are a warrior … who wins in & thru our Savior Who conquered everything!

Lori Hollinger
Member

If Christ forgives us, He who was perfect, how can we not forgive ourselves? Dear friend, that’s more garbage from the devil.

Erica
Member

Good words that go straight to my heart. How do you move on in forgiveness when the one you forgive is not repentant?

Jes
Guest

That is so hard. I try to put myself in their situation and try to see if maybe they were hurting and lashed out or if they really thought this was the best way to handle it, etc.. See if I can gain insight into what they were thinking or feeling. Sometimes this helps.

Pastor Dave WAY-FM
WAY-FM

Stay tuned, Erica. That answer is coming in this series.

angelbug22@hotmail.com
Member
angelbug22@hotmail.com
I am so thankful, that I am able to forgive. It took a long time to get there, but I did. I do not forget, however I am at peace. I can think about (and I do) things that have hurt me,horrible things, that I have forgiven others for, and still feel the peace forgiveness has given me. God has been SO good to me! I pray for you Joy, that you may also find peace in forgiveness, and be able to keep that peace. May you always find comfort in Our Heavenly Fathers Love,Grace,Understanding and Forgiveness.
Cody D
Member

We can forgive, but only God can truly forgive and forget.

angelbug22@hotmail.com
Member
angelbug22@hotmail.com

That is so very true Cody. God Bless.

bwilliams38
Member
I was beginning to think that I didn’t know “how” to forgive or that I am doing something wrong. And I guess I kind of am. I need to remember that it is not a one time deal. God is asking me to continually come to Him for help in this area. I think because He wants me to remember that I am not in control nor am I the “better” person because I forgave someone. I am no better than anyone else even if I am right in a situation. This is a great series for me to be… Read more »
Rhonda
Member

Love this perspective!

Carrie Graf
Guest

Wow. Hit me right between my hurt feelings. A process. Imagine that. And a process that makes me rely on God more and more.

Thanks.

Subrina
Member

This is a great study for me. I have such a hard time dealing with someone hurting me. I am one of those people that keeps things bottled up inside. I stew about it for a while and in my younger years, I plotted a way to get revenge (I don’t this this anymore thank God). This one hit home and I am thankful for the reminder that who are we not to forgive someone who wronged us. Jesus set the bar and we need to follow.

Rebie WAY-FM
WAY-FM

Thank you for sharing the way God is changing you! I’m glad you’re part of the group, Subrina!

Lisa
Member

Thank you. Just reading God’s passage and how it applies to your life, softens my heart. Forgiveness lets you love all kinds of people. That is what God is all about. Love everyone.

Danielle
Member

Thanks for this! Looking at it this way is amazing. Especially with regards to myself. I can forgive others easily, but I find that forgiving myself is the hardest thing to do. The games and tricks that my mind can play over and over and over make it so difficult . Maybe that is why He said 7 x 70. You are so correct that it is a continuing process
Thanks again for sharing

Brenda
Member

Thank you for this reminder. When hurt returns, I doubt the sincerity of the forgiveness I have given someone. It is a blessing to know that others have to forgive again and again.

Member

Forgiveness is one of the more challenging commands we are given as Christ followers. Thw increasing peace and joy you gain every time you choose to let go and let God is priceless though!

pmccoy68
Member

Thank you Joy for this reminder. It is hard not only to forgive but to forget. The forgetting part is hard because it brings up the hurt feelings and then the forgiveness has to happen again. It can be a vicious cycle sometimes but our God is patient and loving and his arms are always open. Thank God for his mercy and forgiveness of us.

Member

never thought along these lines….. it is sooo true!! clarity! ty!!

Joani Pederson
Member
Wow I needed this today! My youngest daughter has made a mess of her life, drugs, homeless at times, lost custody of her baby girl. She text me last night during one of her panic attacks. I always try to be just an encourager and good listener, last night as what usually happens it all came back to it’s all my fault her life sucks!! Even though I know it’s the drugs talking and it’s by her choice the words still sting! I pray for her constantly. And always tell her she needs to make her way back to Jesus.… Read more »
Rebie WAY-FM
WAY-FM

Joani, that is so hard. I love how Joy shared how forgiveness is something that can continually turn our hearts back to God each day – because we can’t do it without Him!

Glad you’re a part of this group. 🙂

Baezc
Member
I ask God everyday, how long should forgiveness take? It’s been a few years since my first grandchild went to be with the Lord because of my son in laws negligence which he is now serving time for. I keep saying to myself I forgive him because he was such a good father and husband, but deep down I’m still so broken. I don’t know what truly happened, only God knows. I still grief for my grandchild. Through the years I have been providing for my daughter and second grandchild. Dealing with both of our grief, depression, abandonment and anger.… Read more »
Deborah Gonzales
Member

Joy,
That was very powerful. I am grateful that you shared this with us. You are absolutely right. Sometimes a situation arises and we need to forgive a person again. I’ve never thought about that verse that way but it makes so much sense. We do not forget the the things that hurt us and sometimes something triggers that memory. We can forgive again when that happens. AMEN!

M.Mouse
Member

This is so true !!!! I’m the same way, I say I’ve forgiven the person who wronged me, but I don’t let it go. The peace of God comes when I surrender it to him & let it go.

Pam
Member

This perspective on forgiving was an aha moment for me. I’ve always thought when those hurtful memories come swimming back that I didn’t do it right, you know “the forgiving”. But looking at forgiveness as a process not one single event and it’s done, is so freeing for me. I’ve always felt guilty thinking I wasn’t truly forgiving. Now I don’t have to bundle the hurtful feelings with a feeling of guilt when bad memories wash over me. Ahh, burden lifted! Thanks Joy for this perspective.

Rebie WAY-FM
WAY-FM

Yes, forgiveness can be something that daily turns our hearts back to God! Thanks for sharing your perspective, too. 🙂

Bella1630
Member
Yes-I agree- I never looked at it quite like this-seventy times seven-so probably more than we can count a number of offenses from someone-but this passage of scripture in the way it is presented says forgive yourself too-each time it comes to mind-call on the name of Jesus for those memories and pain. Thank you Joy and Pam-his forgiveness is sufficient and when it doesn’t quite stick once-practice forgiveness again-even if it is on the same thing. The other thing I have found helpful is not to keep dredging up the offense verbally by “continuously sharing it” with a friend-that… Read more »
Karenwhite717
Member

Sometimes I think I read the 7 x 70 requirement and think that means I will have to forgive someone for many different things. I had never thought that 7 x 70 might be the number of times I need to forgive someone for the same thing…because the hurt comes back with the memory of the thing….. Good thoughts, good discussion.

BethB
Member

Preach!!! I’m learning that myself and going thru a current pain…

Carl
Member

Thanks for sharing your heart!

tiiams11
Member
Five years ago I lost my younger brother to alcoholism. I was angry at God, and I couldn’t understand why God had to take my brother Matthew. I turned my heart off and started going through the motions. I even turned the music off. I was bitter and cold. My mind and heart was going through a battle of the what if’s, the what could I have done different, and did Matthew really know that I loved him. You see before Matthew died I was pushing him away because it hurt too much to see him the way he was.… Read more »
Bella1630
Member

Oh my-what a tough time-I don’t hardly know what to say-thank you -somehow someway Gods plan was redemption. I feel like you have to share this amazing story on film on something. This true story could touch many hearts in a multi media setting. God bless you.

Pastor Dave WAY-FM
WAY-FM

Thank you so much for sharing every word. I am once again rejoicing in God’s amazing grace! Won’t heaven be a wonderful reunion & an eternity we cannot even imagine? We will be with Christ our Redeemer and with those who needed Him so desperately.

DianeMiller
Member

Thank you so much for sharing that amazing insight! I needed this because I have felt like a complete failure in this area all my life!

sonya
Member

Thank you very much for this perspective, Joy. I have heard this passage before, many times. I took it to mean that I needed to forgive different situations or different people. I never considered that I need to forgive the same person for the same transgression, more than once. I thought If I I was still angry, I didn’t do it right and needed to try harder. Thanks for showing me that I need to turn to God and ask his help to forgive over and over.

Pastor Dave WAY-FM
WAY-FM

Join me in that club, Sonya. Isn’t this a wonderful series in this season of Christ’s great passion for us?

Member

Joy I have the same kind of memory and your right sometimes it can be a curse.
I’ve had a lot of hurt in my life but I had to learn, though I thought it very unfair to the one who hurt me, I had to forgive for my self to gain my freedom . forgiving those that hurt to users you free and gives God the space he needs to work on my heart as well as the one who hurt me.
Thank you for this teachings today.

Pastor Dave WAY-FM
WAY-FM

I am so glad that God never gets tired of working in my (our) hearts. He is so faithful!

Angela
Guest
I was mentally and physically abused by my step father, it started when I was 8 and continued till I was able to fight back. He had told me that I could not say anything, no one would believe me, because I was a liar and nothing. My mother did not know till I was 15 I told her, she said lets go for a lie detector test, I knew she did not either. Later when I accepted Christ I had to look at my wrongs and ask for forgiveness, then I had to look at others that had wronged… Read more »
Pastor Dave WAY-FM
WAY-FM

Angela, I am so glad that you are a wonderful example of the confidence we have through Christ. What a great story of redemption & hope you have!

Erin Howell
Guest

Just what I needed to hear

Annette Kuykendall
Guest

I need this so much. I need to forgive my former spouse for the hurt he placed on me when he, out of the blue, wanted a divorce and then married another in less than a year. He hurt my children too. How do I forgive him? I love him but I need to turn it all loose and give it all to God. I will never forget, but I want to stop thinking about him and her and just be done.

Pastor Dave WAY-FM
WAY-FM

I am so glad that Jesus said He is the Author & Finisher of our Faith. He knows how to set your heart to rest & to help you put this awful memory in the past which He has covered with His blood.

Derek A Drouillard
Guest

I have forgiven my ex wife for past behavior but even to this day (we’ve been divorced since 94) when I am around here I find myself avoiding conversation. I don’t have any real animosity towards her but I think what I have discovered us I lack respect for her. After having read some of the comments I can’t help but wonder if I have truly forgiven her. ???

Jen
Guest

Christian author Lysa Terkeurst, wrote “Forgiveness is mandatory; reconciliation is optional.” That changed my life, and I hope it helps you. For me, forgiving was letting go of the anger in my heart and being able to extend grace, while knowing that I don’t have to let that person back into my inner circle of trust.

Pastor Dave WAY-FM
WAY-FM

Blessings to you, Derek, as you act on His Spirit’s conviction. You will know it!

Erica Jackson
Guest
I have a real impatience with time. I have to admit that I don’t like waiting and have to ask God’s forgiveness for the irritation I feel when his timing isn’t my timing. I struggle to forgive myself, and when that forgiveness isn’t immediate, I get more frustrated. But God’s timing is perfect, and all the struggles we face will be turned around for the good of those who love him. Joy’s message gave me encouragement. The Lord used it to remind me that it’s ok that I’m not perfect yet. I’m a work in progress. He’s still got this,… Read more »
Pastor Dave WAY-FM
WAY-FM

Depending on Him always reaps a bountiful harvest of righteousness.

Jen
Guest
It is INDEED a process! I had a coworker, my best friend at work, attack and betray me when I was in my last round of chemo. Yep. To say I was devastated is an understatement – I was at the most vulnerable point of my life. God has taught me more in that situation than at any other time of my life, most importantly, to forgive. It has been almost 4 years now, and He is still healing me – I still have to repeatedly extend grace, daily, because I still work with her everyday. It’s hard soul-work, and… Read more »
Annerich7
Member
Thank you for this! It’s exactly what I needed to hear at this moment. I find myself becoming so angry with my brother over and over again. I ask myself did I ever fully forgive him the first time if every week or month I find myself angry with him? Reading this, I have now learned that I need to just ask (pray) God to remove these feelings that I have and to replace it with love and forgiveness. It’s not going to be an easy thing for me to do but I am willing! The anger that I experience… Read more »
Carol
Member

My sister will just randomly decides she hates me, when in reality it is Christ she is rebelling against. I am a christian and she is not, therefore our lives look very different. She has lashed out at me multiple times and said such horrific, hurtful things to me. At one point she told me she was divorcing as a sister. She always comes back like nothing ever happened. I finally realized one day that forgiveness was a much easier rode than spite. It took a long time to get there though. The Lord walks me through it often.

Kayreen
Guest

This is very helpful to read and hear. Thank you for sharing and helping me to identify what it is I need to continue to work on. These words are perfect for me right now. It is a process and not immediate. Thank you for being a vessel for God and enlightening me and many others.

Crystal
Member

Thanks Joy that really helped me.

pastormatt
Member

I have been on this walk for a while. Wronged and hurt by someone very close and the pain , lack of trust, disappointment, self doubt and anger always seem to come back. Makes me feel like a failure in the forgiveness area. Needed this message. Thank you!

Rebecca
Member

Thanks Joy that helped alot…I am sooo excited about your engagement!!

Doris Ripczinski
Member
Thank you for allowing the Holy Spirit to use you to give me revelation. Of there is not only one person I need to forgive, after all I am 61 years old. But for years now, after I believed I had forgiven my ex husband For abusing our son, each time relapse on drugs occurred, ( my sons path for a time dealing with his pain) I was hurt and angry once again. I told myself, I must not have forgiven, I must still be in process of forgiving him. Each time asking the Lord for wisdom. Today, after reading… Read more »
Kali Christensen
Guest

Thank you! This is a great reminder that when the past creeps up, we need to show forgiveness again. I have struggled with this, not understanding why my mind wanders back to those moments. I have always thought it is more of a one and done situation with forgiveness. You’ve changed my perspective and understanding of what God wants me to do! Thank you!

Calpalntn
Member
I have not looked at forgiveness this way. I agree you have to ask God and turn it over and over to him. I’ve had a similar situation where I have (or thought I had) forgiven someone and then something happens similar to before or that person comes around again and all the pain and anger are stirred up again. I’ve questioned “when will the pain and anger stop?” every time I’ve asked God to forgive me. So like we are constantly asking God daily to forgive us, we have to forgive multiple times until we are truly free. And… Read more »
Pastor Dave WAY-FM
WAY-FM

Joy, in all my years of preaching, I haven’t heard a greater perspective than yours on 70X7. Thanks for getting rid of the guilt in a lot of us!

Sharmika Brookins
Member

Forgiveness is for our heAlth

Member

It’s hard to forgive & forget. You think you’re okay & then something reminds you & boom there it is again even though you thought you were over it. I think it’s a process that takes time & a lot of prayer!

miketober
Member

Just what I needed

Someone hurt
Guest
I have a real problem with forgiveness for I have been married for a very long time to an alcoholic who doesn’t think he has a problem eventhough my children and I repeatedly stressed our concerns. He thinks he should be able to drink whenever, whatever and as much as he likes and he continuously lies about it. My husband is not one of the friendly drunks, at least not to me or my last child at home for he is mean, cruel and sometimes in the past abusive. He has had several dui’s with the latest totaling his SUV.… Read more »
Pastor Dave WAY-FM
WAY-FM

Very good questions. Future studies will deal with this. Stay tuned.

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