Unlimited Forgiveness

“I’m sorry, Man, I did it again.  I thought it would be different this time, but…   I don’t know why I keep doing this…   All I can say is, I’ll try to not do it any more.”    Ever hear that from someone?   That first time was bad.  You got angry but you forgave him and got past it.  But then he did “it” again!   There was a bit more shouting and screaming that time.  But lets say you forgave him again:  What if he does “it” again?  What then?

” 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?”  (Matthew 18:21)

Peter knew Jesus was into forgiveness and figured He would praise his generosity and patience.  Seven times!!!  Can you imagine being that forgiving?  But Jesus responded, “Not even close…”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:22)

In effect, Jesus said, “Don’t put any limits on your forgiveness.”  Why?  Wouldn’t you think after 3 times it would be reasonable to reach your limit?  Jesus told a parable to explain His reasoning:

““Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents [Modern equivalent = $6 Billion] was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii [Modern equivalent = $12,000]. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” ” (Matthew 18:23-35)

Here’s the point:  When we surrender to Jesus, God (the King) cancels our unpayable debt.  He doesn’t simply erase it, but arranges for His Son, Jesus, to pay it for us.  When others need our forgiveness, there is no way we can refuse if we are truly mindful of how much we have been personally forgiven.  God’s forgiveness comes with a change of heart, so that our heart actions resemble His.

Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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