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Matthew 18:21 Then Peter came and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”
In Jesus’ day, there was a common teaching among Rabbis. If somebody sins against you and later comes to you, acknowledges their wrongdoing, and asks for forgiveness, you should forgive them three times. But if their unhealthy behavior continues after three times, stop forgiving them.
Jesus’ good friend Peter may have been trying to one up the religious leaders. “How often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” It may have been Peter’s way of saying, Ah-ha! That’s more than twice as many as what those others have been teaching. C’mon Jesus. Tell the others how right I am!
But Jesus didn’t bite. Depending on how the Greek text is translated into English, Jesus responds by saying “No, seventy-seven times,” or, “No, seventy times seven.” Either way, the principle He was teaching was clear. You don’t need to keep count of how many times you forgive somebody. Just keep forgiving them. Again, and again, and again, and again.
READING & PRAYERS:
MATTHEW 18:21-35 (also read the commentary notes in your Study Bible of choice.)
QUESTION: Are you currently struggling to forgive somebody who has sinned against you? What steps may you need to take to begin the process of truly forgiving them?
REAL LIFE PRACTICE: Are you doing too much?Practice slowing down and living life at the pace of your soul by utilizing the One Minute Pause app at least twice daily. The app is free, and is available on iPhone and Android devices.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I confess that the topic of forgiveness is a difficult one for me. Our culture says to “forgive and forget” but I know that I will never truly forget some of the wrongs I have experienced. Even though I may never forget these things, help me see how strong my need is to forgive those who have wronged me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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