Jesus commands us to forgive those who harmed us seventy times seven times: there is no limit to the number of times we should forgive those who sinned against us.
My June 13 Post Forgiveness is Not Easy, discussed the difficulties of forgiving. The May 16 Post – Satan Never Rests – Experience the Joy of Forgiveness, shares God’s promise to forgive us of our sins. The focus of this Post is how we must forgive and why Jesus said you must forgive seventy times seven times. The concept of forgiveness is very intricate. When others hurt us, we feel violated, offended and harmed. It is not easy to forgive those who sinned against us, in fact, Peter wanted Jesus to provide a rule to obey. He asked Jesus, who many times must we forgive someone who sinned against us, asking as many as seven? In other words, Jesus, give me a number.
“Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times? No, not seven times, Jesus replied, but seventy times seven!”
Matthew 18:21-22, NLT
This scripture shares that there is no fixed number to ascribe to forgiveness. We should forgive as often as they repent and acknowledge their fault. The frequency of the occasion is not bound by forgiveness, the mandate it is exercising the grace of forgiveness from the heart.
What does forgiveness require of us?
Forgiveness is not about salvation, it is forgiving because first God forgave us, and he forgave us at great cost.
According to Biblegateway, forgiveness must issue from the heart (18:35) it must be sincere (compare Is 59:13). God has forgiven us; if we fail to show grace to others who have repented-guilty parties in a divorce, former gang members, adulterers, homosexuals, gossipers, crafty politicians-then this text simply promises us hellfire (compare Mt 5:7; 6:12, 14-15).
Why is it so difficult to forgive? The truth is, we often forgive intellectually, by simply voicing the words. It is quite another thing to forgive from the heart. We offer forgiveness through words that are void of the love based in our heart. It is possible to receive forgiveness but not truly experience forgiveness from our heart. This is why it is so difficult to share forgiveness with others. Forgiveness must be from the heart. When you have an unforgiving spirit, you put yourself in prison spiritually and emotionally. People who do not forgive often swing the pendulum to hate. We pay dearly for the luxury of carrying a grudge.
He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.
Images – Google Images; Pexels.com
Scriptures – Biblegateway.com
Resources – Biblestudytools.com, Matthew 18:21-22 Commentary, John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible; Chapter-by-Chapter Bible Dictionary by Warren Wiersbe
For Children’s Studies, visit YoungChristianWarriors.com, September-November 2017
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