“21 Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ 22 Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’”
I have always liked math. I know – call me a nerd. But there is something about solving math problems and completing the formulas. But I don’t think the Lord was playing math games with Peter here. This answer to Peter’s question was about much more than the number of times he was expected to forgive.
Jewish law taught they should only forgive someone three times. So, Peter was already more than doubling that number when he said seven. I bet he thought Jesus would say, “That’s more than enough.” But Jesus says, “Seventy times seven.” He didn’t mean four hundred and ninety. He meant we should always forgive. The number of offenses is not the issue. It’s all about our willingness to forgive.
Has your child needed to forgive someone? How about more than once? If they have siblings, chances are they have. What a great verse to share with them the next time. Forgiveness is not for the person you are forgiving. Forgiveness is for you. You may have heard the expression that unforgiveness is the only poison you drink and hope the other person dies. When we don’t forgive, it eats at us, not them.
Now, I am not saying it is easy. I am not saying to forgive and instantly trust that person again. What is clear from this passage is that Jesus wants us to forgive them every time. That’s enough for me. He knows we can’t change their heart by our forgiveness. But He does know it will change our heart. That’s His message to us. Forgive!
Is there someone you need to forgive today? Have you told them? Why not go to that person and tell them so. They may not even be aware of the hurt you are feeling. They may be aware and not care. That’s okay. Forgive them anyway. Just think of the thousands of times the Lord has forgiven you.
Forgiveness is such a hard thing at times, Lord. Help me forgive those who are truly unforgiveable. I know You can give me the ability to do so.