Saturday, February 25, 2012

7 x 70

I spent my week reading "The Shack," a book written by William Paul Young and published in 2007.  As I mentioned this book to other people this week, I realized I must be the last person to read it.  So many people have told me, "Oh I loved that book."  While I have to admit that it was hard for me to emotionally handle the tragedy that occurs in the beginning, the rest of the book just left me in awe.  It's one of those books that I will keep forever and definitely read again.  Yes, it is a work of fiction, but I gives us a view of God, His love and forgiveness, and the love and forgiveness he wants for us. The book goes through all those challenging questions that so many of us wrestle with and gives some answers that fall right in line with what Jesus' message was for us. 

So as I choose this week's song, I have the messages of this book in mind.  One of the most powerful themes is that God wants us to forgive those who have wronged us, even if it seems that those people are unforgivable.  For most of us that is a tough pill to swallow.  But as I learned in the book, and is described in this song, with forgiveness comes healing. This week's song is by Chris August and is called "7 Times 70."

This was a very personal song for Chris August to write, and it comes from his background of living in a broken family.  But his story of sadness and forgiveness is one that we can all learn from regardless of our situation.  Forgiveness is not easy and it may not come instantly. In "The Shack" God says "you may have to declare your forgiveness a hundred times the first day and the second day, but the third day will be less and each day after, until one day you will realize that you have forgiven completely."

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
Matthew 18:21-22

Seven times seventy times
I'll do what it takes to make it right
I thought the pain was here to stay
But forgiveness made a way
Seven times seventy times
There's healing in the air tonight
I'm reaching up to pull it down
Gonna wrap it all around

Being able to forgive the minor offenses in every day life quickly can really change your behavior and mentality.  Having the courage and strength to forgive those who have caused you great pain will be harder to do but allow you to move your life out of darkness and into light again.  Forgiving yourself of your own failures and mistakes can possibly be the most difficult kind of forgiveness, but the knowledges that God has already forgiven you can encourage you to take that step.

So if you're being faced with a decision about forgiveness today, I hope this song and these words help you along the way.  And if you don't find yourself being faced with such a decision right now, it's likely that you will at some point....whether its small or something major.  I pray that you will remember this song when that time comes.

If you'd like to learn more about how Chris August wrote this song, check out this link:

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