21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
How many times do we arrogantly go to God saying or doing something we think is above and beyond? Peter thought he was being an ultimate human being by suggesting forgiveness up to seven times. We often shake our heads at Peter in this story but in real life, from a human standard, he actually was been very generous. Most people don’t give others a second chance or possibly a third. Forgiving someone seven times is a lot.
When God is put in the picture however, seven becomes nothing. How many times has God forgiven you in your life? How many times has he forgiven you just this week or even today? If seven was an adequate amount we all would be very lost.
22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Here Jesus greatly multiplies the number seven, not because this is the actual number of times we should forgive but as a lesson to show that we have to learn and grow to greatly multiply what we think God asks from us. Jesus is saying that forgiveness must be given a much greater role and importance in what we think of as a Christian. He is also showing us how God sees forgiveness, and thank God for that.
For God, there really is no limit to the number of times He can forgive. The limit is actually set by us and the amount of times we feel like we deserve forgiveness. Those who no longer receive forgiveness from God are those who have given up and no longer seek it or convince themselves that God will no longer forgive them. The truth however is that, even as the thief on the cross, God is willing to forgive even in our last moments of life and choice.
How can we develop our level of forgiveness to others? We do this by looking at God level for us. If God, a king, can forgive us for so much, how can we not forgive the smaller infractions done by those around us? That is the parable lesson in Matthew 18:23-34 which I’ll let you read on your own.
The last verse is the most important for us.
35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
God will judge and forgive us based on our own level of forgiveness of others. That can be a terrifying prospect. It should also be a great motivator to change ourselves.
Pr. Steven Couto