Key Word:- FORGIVE
Title:- When 'Ilunga' is not good enough!
Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors
The BBC's Oliver Conway reported on a list of 'the hardest words to translate' which was drawn up from a consultation with 1,000 linguists. At the top of the list, from the DR Congo came the word "Ilunga." Ilunga means "a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time but never a third time." Now friends that may be a hard word to translate, but it seems incredibly gracious and realistic to practice. Don’t you think?
Whatever, the sin, if I forgive you once, then to myself and others I can appear to be magnificently magnanimous. It may cost me, it may cost me dearly but I, yes I, have forgiven you. I feel better than you when I do this. Yes, that’s the right thing to do, yes, that’s gracious, yes, that’s reasonable. Should you commit a sin against me for a second time, then I can choose to tolerate it. My forgiveness would be less magnanimous, maybe tainted with a not a little annoyance, but everyone would understand why. Yes ,that’s right, yes, that’s kind of gracious, yes, that’s just about reasonable. Now, sin against me the same sin a third time and I would be a fool to let it go! To let my grace be stomped on, to let my grace toward you be abused, even raped, I would be a fool. Three strikes and your out! That's reasonable friends. Yes, that's very reasonable! Don’t you think? Of course you do.
The hardest thing to do is to forgive the deliberate and persistent sinner! It’s most unreasonable. However, the apostles came to realize that they were not following a reasonable Master. Jesus demanded total obedience, not a reasonable following. Jesus raised the bar far higher than any human could reach by themselves, for Jesus expected His followers in forgiveness, to be like God! To a man, the apostles all baulked at this, for truly, forgiving others their persistent sins against us, is the hardest thing on earth to do and frankly, it cannot be done, I say again, it cannot be done, not without the grace of God o’er flowing our hearts and our trusting totally on Him for help in both the forgiving and the forgetting. You see, ‘Ilunga’ is just not good enough for grace, so you had better get on your knees, for you need more faith!
Listen:- Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him." And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith." Luke 17:3-5
Pray:- And when seven seems leap-able, You raise it to seventy O Lord, and when that is visible, You raise it to seventy times seventy. How can this be done? Except You give wings to my feet and put heaven and eternity in my eyes and grant an openness to my hard heart, and a deep, so very deep, consciousness of all You have forgiven me, I just cannot forgive in the way You want me to. Great God grant it, and increase my faith in doing so, help me to never settle for Ilunga, when Ilunga is not good enough. Amen.