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  1. People are constantly wronging each other. Some do it by chance, others do it for fun, and some do it out of spite. How often should we forgive those who hurt us so much? "Then Peter came up and said to Him, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.'" Matthew chapter 18, verses 21 and 22. Jesus means by this that forgiveness should be perpetual. After all, God-- who we constantly wrong with every multi-daily sin-- forgives so that we may live with Him if we choose. He gives us chances (unlimited, even,) to make things right with Him so we can have a love-filled relationship. But be warned: "He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." John chapter 15, verse 2. Any grower of trees knows that a dead branch must be removed before it sucks the life-- in attempt to heal-- out of the rest of the tree. It acts as a weed, killing your crops and destroying your potential for a healthy future. In the time and place the above passage was written, water was scarce. Any plant that did not give food would not be taken care of, and any part of a plant taking up valuable water but not giving fruit would be gotten rid off and likely burned if it could be so it is of some use-- so too were branches. If it doesn't bear fruit, cut it off. It is folly or even sin. And any branch that bears edible fruit must be taken care of to make even more fruit-- so too with relationships. By taking care of them, you will see a yield of joy and life increase. By doing nothing or by letting them waste away, your joy and life in them will wither and bear you nothing. Are you forgiving others only to see their damage once more spread like weeds and choke out life? You are called to forgive, but you're not called to cultivate a crop that causes only damage and decay. Cut it off so that the rest of you may live.
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