Forgiving Over and Over Again

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Reading the Word

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-seven times.

Luke 17:3–4 (ESV)

3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

How many times should we forgive someone? Once? Twice? How about seven times? This was Peter’s question for Jesus and Jesus’ response reminds us that our forgiveness of others should look like the forgiveness that God shows towards us.

Jesus told Peter that we should not limit our forgiveness towards others to seven times, but seventy-seven times! Now, Jesus was not actually giving us a specific number to keep track of in some way, but using hyperbole to make the point that our forgiveness should be unending. Just as God forgives us, we should forgive others. Thankfully, though we sin against the Lord every day, he continues to forgive. That is the kind of love we are to show towards others. We are to show the same love that God has shown to us.

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