"Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying, 'I repent,' you must forgive them."
My granddaughter, Virginia Rose, spends Wednesday of last week with me. Danny is at work in Atlanta, so it is just the two of us. I'm so happy to see her and am looking forward to a day of fun and games.
To my surprise, Virginia finds a small, green, hard-rubber ball on our living room rug. "Look, Gammie!" she exclaims, all smiles as she bounces it on the floor, definitely amazed at how high it goes with so little provocation.
"I wonder where that came from?" I muse as Virginia runs to retrieve her new toy. "Maybe, it's Giovanni's, but I've never seen it before." And, since my stepson is at work, there's no way to immediately find out. "Even if it belongs to Giovanni, I'm sure he wouldn't mind you playing with it."
And, play with it, we do! I don't want her bouncing it in the living room due to the random chance it could hit the television, so we move to the kitchen, sit on the floor, and gently bounce or simply roll it back and forth.
Then, Virginia pulls out her bag of inventive tricks. She arches her body like a bridge so I can roll the ball under her where it hits the baseboard and comes careening back to me. Next, she squats so there is hardly any space for the ball to get through. Then, its down on the floor again, legs wide, so when the ball reaches her, she can catch it in a scissor snap. Of course, any time the ball gets past me, Virginia laughs hysterically, jumps up, and dashes away to reclaim it.
Finally, the hardwood floor takes it's toll on my backside. "Virginia, Gammie needs a break for a few minutes. Let's go out on the deck and see what the squirrels and birds are up to."
"Okay, Gammie," she says and follows right behind me, green bouncy ball clutched firmly in her chubby little fist.
"Honey," I say when I notice it, "you have to be careful out here with that ball. Se all the open slats in the deck railings? It would be so easy for it to go through one of them and get lost in the yard. After all, it's the same color of our moss and would be so hard to see."
"I be careful," Virginia assures me.
We watch the wildlife in our yard for a few moments, and then sit down on the built-in bench of the deck. Once again, Virginia wants to play with her ball. She positions herself so that her back is facing the railing and her legs are in a "V" so she can easily stop the ball when I roll it to her. But, when she decides to get down from her perch, the inevitable happens. She attempts to snatch up the ball, but her hand brushes it, accidentally, in the wrong direction.
Down the bench it rolls, through a slat it flies, and into the yard it disappears. Literally. Though we search diligently for it, garnering our fair share of bug bites in the process, we cannot find it anywhere. We have to chalk this one up as a loss.
"Gammie, Giovanni and Papa will be angwy with me. I lost the ball. I sowwy, Gammie, I so sowwy."
I smile and give Virginia a reassuring hug. "They won't be mad at you, honey. They'll understand you didn't do it on purpose. Everyone makes mistakes."
Virginia is greatly relieved to hear this. Within a few moments, she's back to her chipper self, playing with her Crazy Sand as if she hadn't a care in the world.
And, once again, my granddaughter, through her behavior, reminds me of Jesus' teaching about forgiveness. When Virginia says she's sorry, repents of her action, she needs to know her apology is sincerely accepted. She needs to understand she is loved for who she is, not what she does or doesn't do.
Isn't that something we all need? To be forgiven when we genuinely repent of our sins? To offer that same forgiveness to others when they ask it of us?
Yes! Seven times in seven days.
And, then some . . .
When was the last time you asked for forgiveness or gave forgiveness to someone?
Prayer: Father, we thank You for sending Your precious Son, Christ Jesus, who taught us to love and forgive one another, who paid the ultimate price for our sins, and forgave those who crucified Him even as He hung on the merciless cross. May we always choose to forgive those who sin against us, even when they neglect to say, "I'm sorry." In Jesus' name, amen.