Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22
Seventy times seven.
Seventy times seven times we are called to forgive. Seventy times seven times we are called to show grace. Forgiveness. Grace. Two of the most beautiful things that can be given, yet the toughest to actually live out in our daily lives.
When we are being criticized or ridiculed by an unrelenting co-worker or boss, have been hurt by a beloved friend once again, or endured another tiresome and bothersome phone conversation, forgiveness and grace are usually the last things on our minds.
However, each time I want to find a way to one-up my co-worker, write-off that friend, or hang up and change my number so that I never have to endure another tiresome and bothersome phone conversation, I hear that still small voice say to me: “January, seventy times seven. That isn’t just 280, dear. It means over and over, and over again.”
Forgiveness. Grace. Just as I have given you.
And he has forgiven me. God has already forgiven me for the times I may have actually one-upped my co-worker, for the relationships and friendships I abandoned and didn’t try to save, and for the many times I may have actually hung up and thought about changing my phone number. He has forgiven me for all the times I played a part in tiresome and bothersome phone conversations. He has forgiven me each and every time I have messed up.
Seventy times seven to be exact.
He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin, and live for what is right. By his wounds we are healed. 1 Peter 2:24
Jesus certainly endured his share of ridicule and criticism. One of his dearest friends betrays him, and this perfect man, a man without sin, hung on a cross-beaten, battered, and bloodied to die for our sins. Yet, he was still able to forgive all those who persecuted him, and the very men who had him killed.
Seventy times seven. Forgiveness. Grace.
If He could do this for me; could do this for you, then I can turn the other cheek when a co-worker criticizes me. Make amends with a friend. Answer that phone to listen to another tiresome and bothersome conversation. Show patience to the lady in front of me in line who is writing a check. To the driver who has cut me off. To the teen who bumps into me at a football game. To the prisoner doing his time behind bars. Just as he has forgiven me and shown me grace.
Seventy times seven. Forgiveness. Grace. Over and over again.