“Lord, how often shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?”
Peter asked the Lord this question. When I read this, I think of how many times I’ve asked the same question of Jesus. How about you? Has someone offended you? Are you wondering just how much a person is supposed to take?
I truly believe that Peter would not have asked this question unless he believed that there was a limit to how far forgiveness was supposed to be extended before it is withdrawn. Just asking the question lets me know that he believed there was a limit to forgiveness for offense. The rabbis of Jesus’ day taught that you were to forgive someone three times for the same offense and after that, you could treat them like they deserve. Peter knew that Jesus was unlike anyone else, so he “jacked up” the amount of times to forgive and said, “Should I forgive up to seven times?”
I mean, I want to be spiritual, but there has got to be a limit to forgiveness for some people!
“I say not to you, up to seven times: but, seventy times seven!”
In the original language in which the New Testament is written, Jesus was saying that Peter (you and I also!) are to forgive as often as an offense occurs. Why would Jesus say such a thing?
Because there is no limit to His forgiveness toward us so we are to extend the “God type” of forgiveness to those who offend us. In other words, we are to forgive as often as we want to be forgiven!
How often do you need God’s forgiveness? With that in mind, how often do you want Him to forgive you?
If we willingly accept forgiveness for ourselves, yet deem others unworthy of forgiveness then we have become hypocrites and judges. Instead of grateful recipients of God’s mercy, we knock God off of His throne and sit down in His place and begin to be Lord. How worthy of judgment do you think that act is?
I hear someone saying, “You just don’t know what has been done to me.”
Many have been deeply hurt by others. But, another’s sin and offense against us will never rise to the level of our offense against God. You see, it is not just the acts that we perpetrate against God that determines our judgment but who we have sinned against. We have sinned against the Author of Life, King of Kings, Creator of All Existence, the All Knowing, All Seeing God! When we turn to Him and, through our sin call Him a liar and a fraud and tell Him to abdicate His position as God so we can sit as Lord – we are acting in the same spirit as the devil and deserve the same judgment.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:14 that if we do not forgive our debtors then we will not be forgiven. We cannot play God and be hypocritical judges: we must be willing to give what we deem worthy to receive.
Does a dark cloud enter your soul when you think of a certain person who has offended you? Then, you need to forgive them. This is not for their benefit but for yours. If you give them to God and release their actions against you, you will finally receive the freedom that has escaped you all this time.
Don’t wait: do it today! Let God be judge; you be joyful recipient of His mercy! Thank God He is willing to forgive you every time you ask Him! Be free by extending the same type of forgiveness to others!