Matthew 18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
The Lord is gracious and merciful and ready to forgive, but how ready to forgive should Christians be? Simon Peter pondered this question as He asked the Lord about it. The Bible records the Lord’s response to Peter for all future generations to consider. Peter wanted specifics; what are to be the limitations of one’s forgiveness? Like many of us, He wanted boundaries and limitations. He specifically wanted to know how many times he needed to forgive those who had wronged him. The Lord answered Peter’s inquiry by saying that he shouldn’t just forgive seven times (the amount Peter asked about), but seventy times seven. Some of those reading the Lord’s response have concluded incorrectly that the Lord was simply placing a much higher limitation upon one’s willingness to forgive others. Yet, the Lord intended to convey something without limitation. Men ought to forgive those who have wronged them every time an offender comes in true repentance (meaning he is sorry for what he has done) (Luke 17:3-4).
• (For children): Your friend tears a page in your favorite book, breaks some crayons, and breaks one of your toys. Each time, he says he is truly sorry and will try to be more careful with your things. Will you let him play with your toys again? God wants you to give your friend another chance because he is more important than your things.
• (For everyone): Do you have a point at which you stop forgiving others? Does it become increasingly difficult to forgive others when they wrong you? Do you think the Lord struggles to forgive you for repeatedly failing Him on a second, third, or fourth offense?
• The people closest to you generally wrong you the most. Do you struggle to forgive your family and closest friends? Has bitterness taken the place of forgiveness? If so, you need to repent and get this right with God.
• Ask God to give you a forgiving heart toward others.
• Ask God to help you give others the same chances that God has given to you when you wrong Him.
SONG: O to Be Like Thee!