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
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