Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Forgiveness – Is There a Limit?

Matthew 18:21-22

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”


How many times have we forgiven someone for the same thing? Do we have a limit to our forgiveness? Does this saying work for us – fool me once – shame on you – shame me twice – shame on me? How many times will we forgive someone?

Peter asked Jesus – how many times should we forgive someone? Seven was a number – often used in the Bible to represent completeness – and Peter would have been OK – I think – if Jesus had said seven times. I imagine Peter had come close to that number on several occasions with people he dealt with on a daily basis. Have we come close to forgiving someone seven times? Would that be considered a lot of times?

Jesus’ answer might have blown Peter away. In the NIV – the translation of the answer from Jesus is seventy-seven (77) times. In KJV – it is interpreted to read – Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. (490 times)

So – depending on your translation – and there might be other translations that have a different number from the Greek – we are to forgive someone – according to Jesus – from 77 to 490 times. In other words – and this is my take on the use of 7’s – we are to forgive completely – endlessly!

Sunday we will preach on forgiveness in marriage – but that forgiveness can be used for any relationship for sure. Let me pose the question to us this way – how many times do we expect Jesus to forgive us? Have we sins that we have committed time and again? Are there times we might even get tired of asking for forgiveness – because we have sinned so much? Yet – Christ is ever there to forgive the contrite heart. His forgiveness is endless – so to speak – when we confess and repent – sincerely – of our sins.

I hope to see some of you on Sunday as we celebrate VBS and begin the sermon series on Marriage – Part 2. Try not to miss a Sunday.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

July 17, 2015 - Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I heard a Christian comedian say, “When I awake in bed, I turn over to face my wife and say, ‘I’m sorry.'” May as well get it over with, we’ll do something today that will upset her. All kidding aside, put two sinners together in a Christian marriage and there’s bound to be incidents that need forgiveness applied. What usually stands in the way? A sinful pride or self-righteousness that prevents humility entering the picture. Powerful words in a marriage: “I’m sorry. I was wrong.” Works in many other human relationships, too, by the way!


    Comment by Favorite Son | July 17, 2015 | Reply

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