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By Yanira Hiza

Then Peter came up to him and said, Lord, how many times will I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven? Jesus said to him, I do not tell you up to seven, but even up to seventy times seven.

Matthew 18:21-22 (KJV)

To forgive is to release a person from punishment, obligation, debt, or fault. The teachers of the law at the time of Jesus taught that one should forgive up to three times. Peter, wanting to know Jesus' opinion, asked Him, how many times should I forgive? Should I forgive seven times? Jesus replied, “I do not tell you seven, but up to seventy times seven.

Could it be that Jesus wants us to keep track of how many times we forgive? Of course, not, what He teaches us is that we must always forgive. Forgiveness for us the children of God should be our lifestyle. In the early years of my marriage, I used to write down the times that my husband made me feel bad or offended me. I was keeping a diary of offenses.

One day, the Lord took me to today's Bible quote and told me, "Daughter, tear it up, because what you are doing nourishes your soul (emotions and will), but not your spirit." This is how I learned how vital forgiveness is for my Christian walk. The lack of forgiveness keeps the wounds in our hearts open, and it is difficult for a wounded heart to bear fruit and for it to remain.

Perhaps you do not keep a diary of offenses, but maybe you keep them in your heart. Children of God, when someone offends you, do not allow days to pass before you forgive, nor be slow to ask for forgiveness. The Bible says, "Do not let the sun go down on your anger." This principle has worked very well in my marriage and in all my personal relationships. I always try to settle my differences with people as soon as possible. The Bible tells us as much as it is up to us to be at peace with everyone.

As Children of God, we must learn to forgive easily when someone offends or hurts us and to ask for forgiveness quickly when we offend or hurt someone. Do not worry if the person forgives you or not. If your repentance is sincere, you have already done your part. The only other thing you can do for that person is to pray.

Today is a good day to meditate and see if you have offended or hurt someone, and if you have not asked for forgiveness, do so. It is also a good day to check if there are offenses or wounds in your heart for which you have not yet extended forgiveness. If you want God to renew and strengthen your relationships, it all starts with forgiveness. Always, be the first to forgive or to ask for forgiveness.

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