“At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?” Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.”Matthew 18:21-22 MSG
Have you been hurt by the same person over and over again? Or perhaps you’re the one continually wounding your friend.
Either way…forgiveness is needed. The one inflicting the pain needs to ask to be forgiven. And the one who is the recipient of the wrongdoing has the responsibility to forgive. That’s how it’s supposed to work.
In Matthew 18, Jesus is explaining forgiveness to one of His disciples, Peter, who obviously thought he had done enough forgiving. After all, he told Jesus, “I’ve forgiven this person seven times already!”
I love Jesus’ answer. “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.” Can’t you just see Peter’s expression! The Master is kindly sharing, “Um, Peter you don’t have a clue. You’re just starting to know about forgiveness at seven. Try 490 times for the same offense…and then you’ve just begun.”
In other words, EVERY occurrence that requires forgiveness…requires you to forgive EVERY time.
I certainly can’t be alarmed at Peter’s query as I’m pretty certain I would have inquired the same question of the Master. Maybe I would have cloaked it a little better so it didn’t come across so self-righteous. Ugh.
But, we are commanded to forgive. Why? “Because God in Christ forgave you.”
Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.”Ephesians 4:31-32 MSG
So when I get my eyes off of me and onto the Savior, forgiveness comes easily. Refocus. Remember what He did for me. He forgave me, a putrid sinner…of all my past, present and future sin…on the cross. Already done in the heavenlies!! Hallelujah! I am under no condemnation in Christ. I can walk freely in forgiveness…to freely forgive.
Thanks for asking the question, Peter.