“Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.'”Matthew 18:21
How many times should we forgive? We all tend to carry baggage related to forgiveness, sometimes hauling it along with us all our lives until it becomes so heavy we just can’t carry it anymore.
We’ve probably all heard popular quotes like, “Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” And while we know it’s better for everyone to forgive, it’s easier said than done. Forgiveness is difficult work and requires regular and purposeful effort. Forgiveness is also a key dynamic in our relationship with God.
Last week’s sermon provided guidance for how to approach someone in the faith community who has hurt or offended another. This week Peter asks a question that might be on all of our minds…how many times? How many times do I have to do this before I can stop? What’s reasonable? Three? Five? Seven? Jesus’ response: seventy times seven. This was mind boggling to the disciples and probably turned their world upside down. And when we consider Jesus’ words, his invitation, it may turn our worlds upside down as well.
How does knowing that you’ve received God’s forgiveness impact your desire and capacity to extend forgiveness to others?
Scripture passages: Matthew 18:21-35
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