Matthew 18:21-22 Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Peter asks Jesus if he should forgive someone who sins against him, seven times. But Jesus is quick to respond to Peter, “not seven times, but seventy times seven.”
Jesus took the number seven and brought a whole other equation to the meaning. We know that seventy times seven equals 490. So, what does Jesus mean exactly by saying that? Once they’ve hit 491 it’s all over? No chance of forgiveness? Not quite.
The point and message probably means that we can’t put a number on forgiveness. Jesus didn’t. So, if our LORD and Savior forgives, so should we. We must forgive if we are to expect forgiveness from our Father. We must show forgiveness to others as well.
Mark 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
As humans we sometimes have difficulty in the whole “forgiveness” thing. Our sinful nature makes it exceedingly hard to embrace the idea of seventy times seven. That is quite a statement.
We might find it hard to let go of resentment for someone who hurt us to the very core. Or love someone who has careless disregard for us, is harsh and mean to us or family members. It may be a hardship to give these individuals a chance to reconcile with us. As Christians we must overcome and “choose” forgiveness. Jesus tells us so.
It is a common theme in the Bible. We are told to forgive. We are given examples of forgiveness.
How many of us can actually say they do forgive? Is there someone right now that you are having trouble forgiving? Or perhaps you might be struggling with the thought of someone forgiving you?
Being a Christian is rewarding and joyous, but it can be conflicting at times. We try to walk the path of righteousness, surely those of faith aspire to do just that. However, being human, we will fall short. And when we fall short of perfection—and we will because only ONE is perfect—isn’t it comforting to know we will be forgiven of our shortcomings?
I don’t know about any of those reading this article, but I always think of the number “490.” When I take that into proper perspective and embrace the promise and words of Jesus, I know that I will be forgiven. And when truly contrite of heart go forward and try my best once again.
In Isaiah 44:22, God promises He will blot out your transgressions. Your sins will evaporate and be no more. He says through Isaiah that when we confess our sins to Him, He will forgive us, erase them all. Nothing will be recorded against us. The thing is, God does erase them…but we will remember them, hopefully not to repeat them ever again.
But there is always that number 490.
Forgiveness 490, thank You LORD!
Father, thank You for forgiving me my sins, and for guiding me, leading me, directing me, may I always be willing to forgive others, embrace Your promises, and fulfill Your will for my life, today, tomorrow and always, in Jesus’ name, Amen.