Forgiveness can be such a hard thing. Especially when the pain runs deep or you have been impacted by someone’s actions. But in this passage, Jesus is talking not only about forgiveness, but also about the kind of character that should define Christ followers. Peter throws out the question about how many times we should forgive and uses the number seven – more than double the number used by rabbis in that day which was three. But then Jesus counters with “seventy times seven” meaning more than is practical to count. Why are we supposed to be people who forgive?
Jesus uses the parable of the unmerciful servant – the servant who is forgiven of an enormous debt but then holds a much smaller debt against someone else. Here is another point for Jesus to show the difference between the law and grace. The law says that there are consequences without mercy for your mistakes (debts); grace says that you receive favor that you in no way deserve and your account is wiped clean.
For Christ followers, we should live with an awareness that the grace we have received from Jesus is a gift and nothing that we could earn or deserve. Because we have been forgiven of so much, we are called to follow suit and be a people characterized by the way we love and forgive. Easy? Absolutely not, but each and every time we are faced with the decision of whether to forgive or not, it should serve as a reminder of how very much we have been forgiven.
New Hope Church
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