Love doesn’t make excuses. Love keeps working to make a difference.
Archive for January 9, 2015
“Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.'” Matthew 18:21-22 (NASB)
The Biblical idea of grace is to treat a sinner better than he deserves to be treated. It is the nature of grace to go beyond what is reasonable and fair to something that is admittedly undeserved. Grace does not ask us to do something that is less than fair; rather, it challenges us to be more than fair.
When Peter asked Jesus if he should forgive his brother seven times, Jesus replied, “Seven times is not enough. Multiply that and make it seventy times seven — four hundred and ninety times.” This does not indicate that if a brother commits more than four hundred and ninety sins against us, we are not to forgive him the additional times. The number suggests that there is no limit to forgiving one when he has wronged us and sincerely repents of the wrong.
Sometimes people have missed the point of Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount: “Whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other to him also” (Matt. 5:39). They claim, “Jesus said to turn the other cheek, but He didn’t say what to do after that.” But He did say what to do after that; He said it in Matthew 18:22.
Keeping score demands that we keep on remembering. Forgiving demands that we try to forget. That may be the hardest part of forgiving, but it is also the most rewarding.