Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. [Matthew 18: 21-22]
A while back, I was going into a store, when I met a woman coming out of the same store. We both looked up at the same time, and we both recognized each other. I immediately knew who she was and how I knew her, but she only knew that we had worked together a long time ago; she didn't exactly remember who I was. I introduced myself and reminded her that we had worked together at one of the elementary school where I had taught.
From there, we just chatted about how our lives were going, what we were currently doing, and what we had done since we worked together. It was a very pleasant few minutes, then we shook hands, wished each other well, and went our separate ways.
I couldn't believe it...she didn't really remember me!
The reason I was so stunned was that she was the only person who had ever given me a poor evaluation in my 29 years of teaching. I was REALLY upset when I received that evaluation, and so was my principal. But nothing could be done about it; that was the only year I taught in which I didn't receive an excellent rating. Because of her poor evaluation, it didn't matter how highly my principal rated me.
Yet...the more I thought about it, the more I remembered a time or two when I ran into this woman in other places, usually the administration building or at some big school district meeting. Each time I did, we always greeted each other politely and chatted a little.
But it has been a long LONG time since that poor evaluation. And I think she had forgotten. And maybe it was time for me to do so too.
Carrying around an old injury, slight, or sin is a STUPID way for anyone to live, especially someone who was taught by the Master to forgive someone who sins against you 77 times.
Hopefully, I am on my way to doing so. I should start counting soon...