(Matthew 18:21,22) 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?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
How often should I be willing to forgive someone who repeatedly sins against me – perhaps with the very same sin over and over? Is there ever a point in which I would be justified in refusing to forgive?
These were questions that the apostle Peter had for Jesus and maybe these are questions that you have had before. And how does Jesus respond to these questions? He tells Peter that he should forgive his brother up to seventy seven times. Now this number of “seventy seven” is not to be taken literally. But Jesus was telling Peter and you that forgiveness is not a numbers game; it has nothing to do with keeping score. Jesus was saying you are not to sit there and count the amount of times a person has sinned against you and when they have sinned against you seven times you are to stop forgiving them. But he was saying you have an obligation to be ready to forgive and forgive again with no limits at all.
And why do you forgive with no limits? Because that is what Jesus does for you! You repeatedly sin against Jesus every day, committing the same sins over and over. But never does he say, “Nope that was your third strike, you’re out!” Instead he reassures you of the forgiveness that he has won for you on the cross. He reminds you that has wiped away all of your sins in his Word and he strengthens you with the knowledge that he always forgives you when we partake of his body and blood. Jesus’ forgiveness knows no limits!
And so how many times do you forgive someone who sins against you? Every time! Because Jesus, out of love for you, forgives you every time!
A repeat offender forgiven every time by Jesus – just like you,