Have you ever been deeply offended by someone in some way, either accidentally or deliberately?
You can suffer day and night from the hurt. Especially if it was totally unexpected, and done by someone who had complete trust; a long-time friend, or someone you trusted unconditionally. Perhaps the hurt was or was not deliberate, but your hurt was shocking due to past experience with the individual had been completely trusting. If the offense is accidental or deliberate, there are times when the nature of it, or the occurrence of the same offenses under different circumstances, attempts to forgive or to ask forgiveness make the hurt even worse.
Offences are common in the unconverted world around us. Many times offences in the unconverted world are expected, and we simply more or less ignore them because of the origin. However, Jesus set a different standard for the Christian when someone offends us who is a fellow Christian.
One of the most difficult responsibilities instructed by Jesus Christ is to forgive.
Forgiveness for Christians go beyond simply apologizing. Most of us find forgiving difficult enough regarding only one offense by someone who we feel has offended us. We must forgive, and…do our best with God’s help to forget. In order to do this, we need to be indwelt and surrendered to Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, our “apology” is a charade.
Subsequently, if continued over time, we become frauds and hypocrites. In a question involving Peter and Jesus, Peter apparently was sincere, and willing to at least forgive seven times. As evidenced by the conduct of Peter in later life, he lived out the command of Jesus until his death that was similar to that of Jesus.
Jesus was not implying that we should make a list and when our offender passes “70 tunes 7”, we are allowed to begin holding the offense against our offender. Jesus does not intend for us to count, and keep a record of the offenses (which would be exceedingly difficult to do in our world), but He was emphasizing the numbers so that we would get the message: that is, to ALWAYS forgive…regardless of the severity of the offense, or, how often we must forgive. Our forgiving is to have no limit.
Forgiveness means infinity… there is no limit to forgiveness’. We must never start counting the offenses of others. Not only is it a sin to do so, but if indulged in long enough, it can destroy us spiritually - and even lead to physical backlash on our lives.
When Jesus spoke this to Peter, He was saying in essence that he must always forgive…regardless of the offence and the number of offences committed.
Jesus set the pattern for us.
He died in order to never again hold our offenses against us if we truly believe in Him. We should never hold someone’s offense against them. In order to remind us of Jesus words, simply consider the adage, what if the “shoe was on your foot”?
Never hold grudges. They have a way of coming back and visiting you.
“Then Peter came to Him and asked, “Lord, how many times will my brother sin against me and I forgive him and let it go? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered him, “I say to you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven.” - Matthew 18:21
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