Matthew 18:21, 22 - FORGIVENESS

Matthew 18:21, 22 - FORGIVENESS.

Matthew 18:21, 22 (NIV)  Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 
"Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against 
me? Up to seven times?"  Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven 
times, but seventy-seven times.   

Matthew 18:21, 22 (CWR)  Then Peter asked Jesus, "How many times 
should I forgive my brother? Is seven times enough?  Jesus said, 
"Peter, it is not a question of how many times, but a question of your 
own attitude. If your attitude is right, you'll forgive him seventy 
times seven because you love him. 

Until seventy times seven. The Greek is somewhat ambiguous, and 
may mean either "seventy times seven" or "seventy-seven times" (cf. 
Gen. 4:24). Of course, the number itself is not important, being only 
symbolic. Either number is in harmony with the truth here taught, that 
forgiveness is not a matter of mathematics or legal regulations, but an 
attitude. He who harbors within himself the idea that at some future time 
he will not forgive, is far from extending true forgiveness even 
though he may go through the form of forgiving. If the spirit of 
forgiveness actuates the heart, a person will be as ready to forgive a 
repentant soul the eighth time as the first time, or the 491st time as the 
eighth. True forgiveness is not limited by numbers; furthermore, it is 
not the act that counts, but the spirit that prompts the act. 
"Nothing can justify an unforgiving spirit" (COL 251). [SDA Bible 

  Peter wanted a rule to obey, which shows he was not in the 
spirit of what Jesus taught (Rom. 12:8-10). The parable is not about 
salvation but about forgiveness among God's people. We are to forgive 
others because God has forgiven us (Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13), and He has 
forgiven us at great cost to Himself! It is possible to receive 
forgiveness but not truly experience forgiveness in our hearts; therefore, 
we have a hard time sharing forgiveness with others. 
  When you have an unforgiving spirit, you put yourself in 
prison spiritually and emotionally; you pay dearly for the luxury of 
carrying a grudge. Is it worth it? [Chapter by Chapter Bible Commentary 
by Warren Wiersbe] 

  Mercy is a gift. It is undeserved. Punishment and consequences 
are sin's just reward, but the merciful person does not demand 
justice for the guilty person. If it were not for God's mercy, we all 
would have faced His terrible judgment long ago. If not for His mercy, 
He would have condemned us after our first offense. If not for His 
mercy, He would punish us each time we sin. But rather than letting us 
bear the full punishment for our sin, God demonstrated His mercy when 
He paid the penalty for our sin Himself.  
  Do you find it hard to show mercy? It may be that you do not 
comprehend the mercy that God has shown to you. Jesus commanded His 
disciples to extend the same mercy to others that they had received from 
God. When they considered the incredible, undeserved mercy they had 
been granted, how could they refuse to extend the same unconditional 
mercy to others?  
  Could anyone sin against us to the same degree that we have 
sinned against God? Could any offense committed against us be as 
undeserved as the abuse hurled against the sinless Son of God? How quickly 
we forget the mercy that God graciously bestowed on us, only to 
focus on the injustices we endure from others!  
  If you find it difficult to forgive others, you may need to 
meditate on the mercy of God that prevents you from experiencing God's 
justifiable wrath. Scripture describes God as "Ready to pardon, / Gracious 
and merciful, / Slow to anger, / Abundant in lovingkindness" (Ne 
9:17b). [Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry and Richard Blackaby re 
Mat. 18:33] 

  Resentments are the blocks that hold us back from loving 
ourselves and others.  Resentments do not punish the other person; they 
punish us.  They become barriers to feeling good and enjoying life.  
They prevent us from being in harmony with the world.  Resentments 
are hardened chunks of anger.  They loosen up and dissolve with 
forgiveness and letting go. 
  Letting go of resentments does not mean we allow the other 
person to do anything to us that he or she wants.  It means we accept 
what happened in the past, and we set boundaries for the future.  We 
can let go of resentments and still have boundaries! 
  We try to see the good in the person, or the good that 
ultimately evolved from whatever incident we feel resentful about.  We try 
to see our part. 
  Then we put the incident to rest.
  Praying for those we resent helps.  Asking God to take our 
resentments from us helps too. 
  What better way to begin each new day, or week, or month, than 
by cleaning the slate of the past, and moving ahead free of 
resentments.  [Melody Beattie; Recovery Devotional Bible] 

He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself 
must pass. George Herbert