Forgive 70 times 7, Matthew 18:22
After a church discipline series, I thought it appropriate to write some about forgiveness. In Matthew 18, Peter tries to show off his graciousness to Jesus.
18:21Then Peter came to him and said, “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother who sins against me? As many as seven times?” 18:22 Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, I tell you, but seventy-seven times!
The textual note in the NET says, Or “seventy times seven,” i.e., an unlimited number of times. See L&N 60.74 and 60.77 for the two possible translations of the phrase.
When my family discussed this over the dinner table a few weeks ago, one member said, "OK, I'll keep count." Even though we discuss the Bible over dinner sin still abounds in the Umland home. Apparently, the offenses are legion between the children. They might legitimately reach 490 or 77 offenses in a day. I told the smart child that, literally understanding the Bible is good. I also told the child that Jesus was using numbers that indicate holiness and not accuracy. However, I think taking Jesus' challenge seriously would be good for whomever has a tough time with forgiveness. By the 485th occasion of granting forgiveness, I would think the heart and the attitude of the forgiver would be much different from the 10th time.
Jesus calls us to an attitude of forgiveness, the same attitude he has. If one has a hard time forgiving, take Jesus' challenge. Only forgive 77 times, or 490 times, a day. Number 78, or 491, is all yours... if you want it.