The last number of fictional books I’ve read were historical fiction based on the effects of World War II in France. The authors revealed the devastation of war on the land, people and livelihood of the French people as well as the diverse ways the people responded to the German invasion. The read is sobering and yet inspiring.
The story always identified individuals who responded with courage to a vicious enemy attempting to steal their freedoms. In order for these people to overcome, they needed to know the tactics the enemy employed. Then, they exploited the weakness of the enemy. In this way, many were saved from certain doom by the strength and courage of ordinary people doing extraordinary tasks.
Recently in my Bible reading, I read from Paul’s second letter to the believers in Corinth. He says this:
7Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. 8So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him. . . . 10When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, 11so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.2 Corinthians 2:7-11 emphasis mine
One time Peter asked Jesus, “How often should I forgive my brother?” Seven times wasn’t enough. Jesus said he should forgive 70 times 7. Four hundred and ninety times. Seven, in the Bible, is the number of perfection, completion. Seventy is ten times seven which intensifies the perfection. Imagine 70 times 7. I think Jesus meant we should stop counting.
Perhaps it is because holding a grudge, refusing to forgive, is allowing ourselves to be outsmarted by the enemy. Unforgiveness is one of his most effective evil schemes.
The aspect of unforgiveness I so often forget is that it hurts me more than the one I am upset with. The target of my animosity is likely unaware of the churning I have in my gut, the sleepless nights I endure, the hostility and hurt I feed. She is going on with her life.
Who in your life needs released through forgiveness? Who can you reaffirm in love so that the enemy does not get the upper hand? You see, we aren’t unaware of the enemy’s schemes! Do something extraordinary and exploit the enemy’s weakness by forgiving someone today!