Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:22 NABRE
Jesus makes forgiveness a very big part of his message. Some preachers have said that in one way or another two-thirds of the scriptures have some sort of message about forgiveness. Peter asks Jesus how often we should forgive someone who has sinned against us. Peter suggesting seven times thought he might have been declaring a very generous cap. But Jesus says not seven but seventy-seven times. Jesus is suggesting that there is a boundless willingness to forgive. This increase to seventy-seven recalls Lamech, who appears last in the genealogy of Cain’s family, a family filled with immorality, murder and vengeance. Lamech boasts, “If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.” (Genesis 4:24) Just as Cain’s descendants responded to their enemies with unlimited vengeance, Christians should respond to sins committed against them with unlimited forgiveness. To illustrate this point Jesus tells a parable about a king and his unforgiving servant. The king is owed much from his servant and as the king demands payment the servant begs for compassion. The king grants compassion but in the moments afterword the servant meets one who owes him and he refuses to give the same compassion. The king hears of this unforgiving servant and has him taken and tortured until all his debt is paid. Jesus ends the parable by saying “So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.” (Matthew 18:35)
We must forgive, it is required of followers of Jesus. It is also a healthy approach. Holding on to offense destroys us from within. Forgiveness frees us. Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Do you forgive from the heart? Is there someone you should forgive today?We must forgive, it is required of followers of Jesus. It is also a healthy approach. Holding on to offense destroys us from within. Forgiveness frees us. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Click To Tweet
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