Seventy Times Seventy

The Word

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)

Thought

The practice among the Jews in Jesus’ day was to forgive offenses three times. Peter addressed the question of how many times forgiveness should be granted to a brother or sister who had committed an offense. Before Jesus could respond, Peter supplied what he thought to be a most generous response to an offender, “Seven times.”

When Jesus replied, he overstated his response to make sure Peter knew the point of forgiveness is to forgive genuinely. The quantity of times to forgive is not the appropriate response. The quality of forgiveness is the appropriate response, for then it comes from a merciful heart.

Prayer

Forgive me when I am seeking my own definitions for forgiveness instead of seeking your heart in the matter. Your grace and mercy exceed human limits and is accompanied by the power of your Holy Spirit to forgive genuinely. Amen.

“and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.”