“Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’”
Mathematics begins early in life. Toddlers start counting fingers, toes, and stacking blocks long before learning addition, subtraction, and multiplication. Why then is it hard for adults to grasp the spiritual arithmetic – seventy times seven – behind forgiveness? Because, like physical math, it rarely comes naturally and is constantly being tested.
Knowingly or unknowingly, people hurt us, and those bumps and bruises expose our willingness to forgive. Do we give God the pain we’re experiencing or do we keep a mental ledger where we count and recount others’ wrongdoings? Believer, God loves you too much to allow you to remain in a state of unforgiveness because it divides you and Him more than you and that person. Refusing to forgive wounds the heart of God, who freely forgave us “all our trespasses.” (Colossians 2:13)
Forgiveness is not a matter of calculation. It is the only right response for those who have been forgiven. The psalmist asked, “LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive?” (Psalm 130:3 NLT) The answer is no one, and that includes you and me!
If God doesn’t keep a record, should we?
Four hundred and ninety times – seventy times seven – isn’t the upper limit or cut-off point in releasing offenses. But it gives us a target to shoot for. When forgiving with such generosity seems beyond you, all God asks is that you point your feet in the right direction, and He will help you move.
Awaiting His return,
– Pastor Jack