Monday, September 24, 2012

Seventy Times Seven

Is there someone in your life who is difficult to love? Or perhaps you love this person, but do not necessarily like them?

Is there anyone in your life who offends you on a regular basis?  Does it seem that just when you have prayed it through and forgiven them for their offense, another one comes to take its place... and the whole process continues. 

I have such a person in my life.  (For you curious types out there--No, it is not my husband.) {smile}

I was driving in the car last week talking to God about this person.

"God, you know this person keeps on doing the same things over and over again!"

And then I asked a question to which I already knew the answer, but I really needed to ask the question . It is the same question the disciples asked Jesus.  The answer is the same as it was two thousand years ago.

"This is really hard.  Do I really have to keep forgiving this person?"  

Immediately, God answered me.  "Seventy times seven"   

"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.'"  Matt 18:21-22

It says in my Bible commentary that of course this is not a mathematical equation, Jesus means limitless forgiveness.  

I have forgiven this person and I am sure I will have to seek the Lord to forgive them again soon.  However, Jesus helps us forgive.  

We have to forgive, and not just because the Lord says we need to forgive (although that would be reason enough). We also need to forgive for the sake of those who offend, and for ourselves.  Unforgiveness is like a poison in our souls.  It festers bitterness that can spread to taint our hearts and affect every part of our lives. 

Unforgiveness causes your prayers to be hindered.  If we do not forgive, God does not forgive us. (Matt 18:25, Matt 6:14-15)

I need forgiveness.  Don't you?

"Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.  But, if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses." Mark 11:25-26

I cannot afford to allow anything to hinder my prayers.  The cost of unforgiveness is too high for me to pay.

When we won't forgive, it is synonymous with declaring that the price Jesus paid was not enough.  His sacrifice is the reason forgiveness is monumental.   

Jesus paid the price for not only our sins, but for the sins of those who offend us.   Who are we to not forgive when Jesus went to the cross for them?

Even as Jesus hung dying on the cross, He prayed for those who crucified Him.

"Then, Jesus said, 'Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do.'"  Luke 23:34

Those who offend you often do not know what they are doing.  However, whether it is intentional or not makes no difference, we are to forgive regardless of intent.

Think of all Jesus Christ has forgiven you for.  Do you deserve His grace, mercy and forgiveness?

None of us deserve it.  How could we not forgive when we have been forgiven of so much.

When it is hard to forgive, ask God to help you.  He will.

Pray for the person who offended you.  It is difficult to be angry at someone when you are praying for them.  
Let's forgive even if we have to forgive seventy times seven in a day.  

Suggested reading:  Matthew 18: 21-35


1 comment:

  1. It is difficult to continually forgive THAT GUY/GAL. I get it, Sue. Thank you for a transparent look at this ongoing opportunity to be obedient to 70X7. Love ya! Talli


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