“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. Matthew 18:21-22
This is one of those verses that is a lot easier to read than to do. I can relate with Peter as he asks Jesus how many times he should forgive someone. To me, forgiving seven time sounds more than generous, and probably a lot more than the rascal who wronged me deserves. And I’m sure Peter expected Jesus to say, “Seven times! Wow, that’s generous of you Peter! You are such a good and forgiving believer. I would never have thought to forgive someone that many times.”
But Jesus doesn’t say that. He tells Peter and you and me, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” In other words, don’t count how much you forgive someone; just keep forgiving until they are forgiven. If you’re counting how many times you’ve forgiven someone, then you haven’t really forgiven him or her at all. Keeping a running tally of how many times we’ve been wronged goes against the concept of a forgiving heart. Just think it God kept count of how many times we’ve sinned! The key is to remember how much we’ve been forgiven by forgetting how much we forgive others.
During these 40 Days leading up to Easter, the season of Lent, we look inside, examine our hearts and see ourselves as we are; sinners in need of the Savior who forgives. If we look closer we will also run across places in our hearts where we have stored resentment and animosity toward others. Jesus tells us to expose those dark places to the light of His love and mercy and to rid ourselves of those feelings by offering forgiveness once and for all time. Then we not only liberate our forgiven brother or sister, we set ourselves free, making room for more important things like joy, peace, love – and God’s forgiveness of us.
Your pastor and partner in ministry,
- For Pastor Brant Rice’s family at Mayo Clinic for tests and a possible procedure regarding son Kelby’s brain A.V.M.
- For Nick Eiden and C3’s High School Mission Team in Baxter Springs Kansas to assist Word In Action Ministries.
- For Dennis & Rose Mary Gallagher in Wisconsin to address their family tragedy.
- Be sure to “like” Celebration Community Church’s Face Book Page and then share with your friends the event. Easter at Beach Schmidt