The Mathematics of Forgiveness
Matthew 18:21-35 |
Peter asks a question that is our question, about the limits of forgiveness. He says, "Lord, how many times should I forgive? Seven?" Peter had done his math. It was the tradition that you could forgive three times, but not four. Peter took the three, doubled it and added one. Who could ask more than that?
Jesus said to him, "No! Seventy-seven." Or seven times seventy. It was a way of saying infinity. Jesus was using the numbers to say don't put limits on your forgiveness because God has not put limits on forgiveness and mercy toward you.
If you forgive a person who has wronged you, even in unspeakable ways, there comes into your life an addition that will come in no other way. It is called mercy and grace.
That only people who can extend mercy and grace are those who know that mercy and grace has been extended to them. God has given to us His mercy and grace, and we liberate ourselves and others when we extend that grace even to those who don't deserve it.
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Eph. 4:32)