The next lesson was to keep my mouth shut. Well good luck with that one. However I did stop going up to people and confronting them. I had to learn to forgive them internally but it was really hard considering I still held animosity and believed they were at fault. “OK man I forgive you this time but you better not do that again.” Is it any surprise that is also how I felt God forgave? And what is this 70 x 77 business anyway? Is God keeping score, should I be keeping score and do I need to keep hanging out with people who I no longer like and does God really or still like me? And now that I am learning that much of my pain is my fault how do I forgive myself. And I still don’t know what it means to forgive, I say the words but nothing happens. I say the words, get on my knees and pray so I feel better for a while then again I’m confronted all over again. I see the person or find myself in a similar situation and patterns repeat and repeat and repeat on infinitely and forever it seems like until I’m ready to throw it all in the trash
Then I discovered the key is practice, that is what the 70×77 is all about. It’s not an instantaneous thing and yet it is. It is life as practicum, curriculum ad infinitum. Here is a radical illustration of this principle. Jesus gives the example of a Roman soldier asking someone to carry his amour for a mile. Jesus then tells us after the obligation is complete we are to volunteer to carry it a second mile. OK no Romans today but in those days it was the Roman law that soldiers had the right to “ask” bystanders to haul their weapons for a mile and ya kinda had to do it. This just added to the anger and resentment already present because of this Roman occupying force who could be extremely cruel at times.
There is an interesting coincidence that a mile is very close to 70×77=5390 and a mile is 5280 feet. Of course they didn’t measure the way we do in the States—nobody in the world measures like we do—they used cubits roughly 18 inches.
That is a lot of forgiving. A real walking meditation considering each stride is approximately 3 feet that is 1,796 steps and with each one we get an opportunity to let it go—no not the physical load but the spiritual load of anger, resentment and hatred. Those negative reactions actually make ones body weaker and the physical load will be heavier with each step. Forgiveness will lighten your load physically, mentally and spiritually.
This is the beauty of forgiveness. It is not given directly to the other person it starts with us and is for us. It is our lesson, and when that is accomplished the energy will be felt by all around you including but not limited to your “enemy.” Could this be the meaning of “Love your enemy” and “Turn the other cheek”?
Forgiveness is not suppression of those feelings. It is not denial of feelings. It is acknowledging them, accepting them, wrapping your arms lovingly around them then letting them go as the good teachers they are. Just as garbage rightly used will eventually turn into a rose. They have taught you how to love yourself and your enemy as well. Once let go they don’t need to be acted out as they would eventually be if you stuffed them. In stuffing them they get projected onto others and you then can justify hating your enemy—“after all it is the soldiers fault I have to carry this heavy load.”
Surrender. Love them and give them to God, he is more than able to care for you and your “enemy”.