Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

God – Teach Us to Forgive

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.”

June 2019In our Tuesday Bible Studies (10:30 am and 7 pm) – we just read about Stephen and his stoning. As he was dying at the hands of the Jews from the Sanhedrin – he cried out for God to forgive those who were killing him. Acts 7:60 – Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. This is very reminiscent of our Lord on the Cross of Calvary. Luke 23:32–34 – 32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

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? And is there a limit to what we will forgive?

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 (see above) – 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!

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 for worship on Tuesdays for Bible Study. Try not to miss an opportunity to join together as we grow in our faith and spirit. God is doing something amazing at First Church and I can’t wait to see it. I’m excited for God’s work to be accomplished.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

July 31, 2019 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Vision, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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