When is the last time someone wronged you and said I’m sorry? How did you respond? Did you say It’s okay, I forgive you? Or did you express forgiveness only to hold a grudge? While I’m not saying that is right, I do think it’s understandable. People do this. In fact, it’s been happening for years and some people only offer forgiveness a certain amount of times. That’s wrong. Scripture says so.
“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22)
Now, anyone with one basic math (see Communication majors) can tell you that 70 multiplied by 7 is 490 times. But that’s not what Jesus meant. Most people would lose track. Regardless, the point is that we are to forgive and forgive often. Why? God forgives us:
“Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
The servant, therefore, fell down, and worshiped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
But the same servant went out and found one of his fellow-servants, which owed him a hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
And his fellow servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
So when his fellow-servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desirest me:
Shouldest, not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee?
And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” (Matthew 18:23-35)
Now, you might be wondering why I just shared something that you most likely heard as a kid in Sunday school. The reason is because we need this as much as the bus kids and the pastor’s kids in your church. And don’t get me started on the deacon’s kids. The point is that there are things in the Bible that are repetitive. There are things in the Bible that are simple instructions, but we sometimes fail to follow them. We sometimes forget them. Sometimes, we simply choose to ignore them. That’s why a Holy Spirit inspired James tells us to be doers of the word and not hearers only (James 1:22).
Are you doing what Jesus tells you? Are you forgiving people? If not, you might just be an unforgiving servant.
“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24-26)