Matthew 18:21 - 22
ESV - 21 Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times? 22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.
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It means, always have a soft and loving heart, and always be ready to forgive. You can never forgive enough! Just as the lords prayer says " forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us." So to love God is to forgive. Look at Jesus' heart. Whilst suffering a painful death He asked, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do". Jesus was forgiving right up to the end of his life.
This is an amazing portion of scripture. It gives us a simple picture of how we as sinful selfish beings quantify and justify an unforgiving heart. Nothing comes close in our lives to what Christ endured for us. It perfect and beautiful and it is for everyone who believes. I love the following verse - lamentations 1 v 12 "Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see. Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me, that the LORD brought on me in the day of his fierce anger? We need to forgive, if we dont we are in opposition to what God says we should do.
The number 490 corresponds with the 70 weeks of years of Daniel 9: 24-27. (The last week is yet to come.) Christ's answer may be an indirect reference to the suffering of the Jews during these 490 years under the Gentiles. In Christ there is one new man (Eph 2:13-17) and Jews and Gentiles will be brothers - one will not lord it over the other. So, it will be best for Jews to forgive the Gentiles for their oppressive domination, as one forgives the sins of a brother in Christ. Christ may be giving us the conceptual limit of forgiveness - which would extend over centuries and generations, not simply extending to specific individuals.
It means to always forgive others no matter what they did to you. That does not mean allow them to continullay abuse you or take advantage of you. Although I have allowed that when the Lord has told me to, knowing that He would make things right, because I know that I am blessed and not cursed above only and not beneath the head and not the tail. That means the Lord always rewards obedience. He even said in John, "Those that love me obey me." He always weighs out justice even if human justice does not prevail. All we have to do is believe and trust and that causes it to happen. Faith is what causes the unseen world to manifest in the seen world.
Everyday we sin against each other, when you may be requested to preform a task by upper or lower authoritative personal, driving to and from destinations, purchasing breakfast, lunch, or dinner, paying bills, waiting in line, making decisions, or watching television. The action we commit each day The Lord allows our eyes open to begin a daily act of sin. Our lives cannot be based by works, as Jesus taught us: Luke 18: 10-14 " 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer 2 : ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” to understand no one can succeed by what we think is "right". Only Jesus our Lord and Savior is righteous. Forgiving one another is difficult from the beginning but as we pray for the sins committed against God this day, pray for those who has sinned against you. It becomes habitual and easy as time passes, those who hurt you may find their weakness forgiving others from your obedience to journey on the less traveled path. Its not works which produces faith but our faith that God knows our hearts and mistakes which fills us to forgive others. How many times, while driving, waiting, working, or talking have I personally sinned against another? Everyday, without a watchful eye I have to pull a plank out.
The number 7 represents divine completion. On the seventh day he rested. What Peter is saying is this "if my brother COMPLETELY offends me, should I completely forgive him? " Jesus probably laughed as he used 70 ×70 as an exaggerated pun on peters whit. We must forgive with others divine love, divine compassion, divine joy, and stuff.
This is what I've learned. Only the perfect God can forgive and forget. As humans, we have our limitations. One truth is that a normal person can forgive but can't easily forget. That is why the Lord commanded us in Matt. 18:22 to forgive until seventy times seven. This means, though you already forgive those who trespass/hurt you today, don't ever think that you can forget it later or tomorrow. The reality is that, man cannot forget but we are to forgive. If heartaches persist four times a day, then we should forgive also four times a day...That is not forgive and forget. Rather, it's forgive and forgive.
Simply stated, forgive or you will not be forgiven (Matthew 6:14-15. If we look at our lives, I am sure we too have been forgiven much more by the Lord than others have sinned against us. Just a reminder and a command by Jesus, to remember what He has done for us! :-)
Peter made some serious mistakes. To begin with, he lacked humility himself. He was sure his brother would sin against him, but not he against his brother! Peter’s second mistake was in asking for limits and measures. Where there is love, there can be no limits or dimensions (Ephesians 3:17–19). Peter thought he was showing great faith and love when he offered to forgive at least 7 times. After all, as Michael said the rabbis taught that 3 times was sufficient. Our Lord’s reply, “Until seventy times seven” (490 times) must have startled Peter. Who could keep count for that many offenses? But that was exactly the point Jesus was making: Love “keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV). By the time we have forgiven a brother that many times, we are in the habit of forgiving.
Seventy times seven is an indirect reference to the Lament of Lamech in Genesis 4:24: "If Cain is avenged sevenfold, then Lamech seventy-sevenfold". In this example it is used to represent a limitless amount! The same is true in Mt. 18:21-22,35! Seventy times seven is not meant to refer to the number of times we are to forgive, but that the forgiveness we must give is to be given 'without limits', 'from the depths of the heart'. There is a significant difference between understanding that forgiveness should be given many times, instead of given 'without limits'. It is the latter that defines exactly the type of forgiveness Jesus is telling us we must give each other! True forgiveness is actually forgiving 'without any limits'! How many times have we heard someone say "I will forgive them but I don't have to love them", or," I will forgive them but from now on I will never trust or believe anything they say"? It is absolutely necessary we accept the fact that Jesus is commanding us to forgive our loved ones who sin and repent, 'without limits' from the 'depths of our heart'. We cannot fulfill this commandment if we place limitations or conditions on our forgiveness and love! There is also a misconception that this commandment applies to everyone who has wronged us, including mortal enemies. While we are told to forgive even enemies, we certainly wouldn't do so 'without limits". This is why we need to use the related scripture which some scholars believe is the beginning of the commandment on forgiveness: Luke 17:3-4: 3 "Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” The importance of this scripture is that Jesus is including our loved ones repenting for their sins as part of our forgiveness! In other words, the commandment to forgive "without limits" "from our hearts" includes the fact our loved one has repented. This is the difference between forgiving an enemy who we know has not repented, and a loved one who has! If we do not know if the person who sinned against us has repented, then we certainly cannot forgive them 'without limits'! Any forgiveness we give must be limited to include prayer that they will repent so they can earn our limitless forgiveness. It is always a good idea to let those who have hurt us know we have forgiven them, and are praying for the Holy Spirit to enter their hearts! We know God places limits on the forgiveness he gives us, because Jesus made it clear we will not be forgiven our sins until we acknowledge and repent them, along with forgiving and reconciling with those who have trespassed against us.
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