Good Thing Math Isn't My Strong Point

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One of the questions asked most frequently involves how to know when enough is enough. How many times do I have to forgive someone who repeatedly offends me?

Peter wondered the same thing and, as was his personal style, he asked the question that the others were probably too timid to ask. “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” (Matthew 18:21). If you’ve been studying the Bible for any length of time, you already know how Jesus responded to that question.

Peter thought he was being generous. In the Jewish culture, forgiving a person three times for the same offense was as far as anyone was required to go, Peter reasoned, and he was correct, that followers of Jesus ought to be more generous than that so he upped the number to seven.

Not enough.

Jesus’ response: “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (18:22).

I don’t know about you, but after seven (okay, three or four) times, I get a little weary.

However, to put things in perspective, I need to remember how many times the Lord has forgiven me even when I repeat the same sin over and over again. If he’d have stopped at seven I’d be in serious doo-doo.

I imagine that He gets a little tired of my stubbornness to let go of things that He is quite willing to give me victory over. And though there are consequences of my own making for habitual sin, He still continues to forgive me when I ask Him.

Can I do less, especially considering how much my sin cost Him, and how little anyone’s sin against me actually costs me? I think not.


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