March 3, 2016

Forgive "70 times 7". What Does This Mean?

In Matthew 18:21-22, Jesus tells His disciple Peter: if your brother sins against you, forgive him "up to seventy times seven." (New King James Version)

What is Jesus actually saying here?

Jesus is challenging Peter, and us, to move ourselves away from thinking of forgiveness as a sequential series of actions in response to those who have offended us. Jesus is telling us to own an attitude and lifestyle of forgiveness.

Be amazed by what God will do when you choose this path. Include yourself among those who need forgiveness.

Remember: forgiveness is a gift your give yourself as you cleanse your spirit and your heart from the injuries others impose. It is an act of power, strength, and forward movement. You can't have too much of these things.

1 comment:

Deborah Evans said...

This question has rolled in: "Should I forgive in the '70 times 7' style the person who repeatedly and intentionally offends me? How is this to be handled?"

An answer: Recall how throughout Scripture believers are advised to separate themselves from "the world." This does not mean go live on a mountain, or dress in clothing styles from fifty years ago, or refuse to connect with popular media in any way. This means: do not connect yourself closely to people who think, speak, or act as if God does not exist or has no right to rule our lives. If you are truly seeking and following God, there is an unavoidable and often painful conflict that will result in your attempt to live closely with those who do not acknowledge God.

Please continue to give yourself credit for a basic level of clear thinking because every decision does not require supernatural intervention.

If someone is not good for you, find a way to move away from and beyond that relationship. If you believe you cannot do this, find a way to minimize their impact.

The first step in minimizing their impact is forgiving them for not being what you want or need them to be for you. This, then, leads us back to the "70 times 7" style of forgiveness.