Peter asked Jesus a very important question.
“Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Have you ever been there? I have.
Someone hurt me… badly.
They had done the same thing before. I forgave them. I trusted them again. And then they did it again.
How many times do I have to forgive them before I just turn into a doormat?
Peter’s question was my question too. “How many times, Lord, before I am just done with them?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
OK, I am quickly counting. Yep, I have probably forgiven that many times already. I can quit now. Right?
But Jesus went on. He told the story of the man who was forgiven much, but refused to forgive another even a little.
The Forgiver was not pleased. He demanded repayment of the debt he had forgiven. And he imprisoned the unforgiving man until he could pay.
Jesus ended the story by saying,
“This is how My Heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
From my heart? You mean I have to do more than just mumble “it’s ok,” and then add it to the list of other mean things they have done?
Quite simply, seventy-seven is just a starting point. Jesus was even more specific than that.
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
God has advanced us forgiveness of debts we could never pay. But He intends that we pass His Forgiveness on to others.
It is a constant circle. He forgives us. We forgive others. He forgives us.
So what do we do with the hurt? First of all, don’t deny it. It hurts.
But don’t pass the pain on. Take it to Jesus. He understands. People hurt Him too.
He can heal us. He can teach us how to forgive as He did.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”