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Forgive the Unforgivable

Jesus answered [Peter], “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:22

At some point you have probably wondered why Jesus said we should forgive “seventy-seven times,” or in some versions of this text it reads, “seventy times seven.” This, of course, is a figure of speech called a hyperbole (or exaggeration), and Jesus suggests this mathematical hyperbole using important biblical numbers that indicate ongoing action. With this Jesus draws your attention to the unending process of forgiveness and away from boundaries that discontinue forgiveness. Just like Peter, you've probably been in this moment with an offender before. That reflective moment when you have to decide, do you limit your forgiveness, or do you continue to forgive. But godly forgiveness requires a repeated choice of living in ongoing forgiveness with another person.

And what empowers Jesus to make this extravagant claim? Well, Jesus is the “Ultimate Forgiver” who forgave you of all your flagrant sin, selfishness, actions, words, and attitudes when it wasn't deserved. Jesus never limited his forgiveness to you. And because of this, he calls you to do the same. Colossians 3:13 reads, "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

With this in mind, who do you need to forgive today? A friend, colleague, spouse, pastor, child, or parent? Why harbor it one more minute? Remember sometimes you will need to forgive, not until your offender understands their injustice, but until the bitterness of your heart subsides.

DO THIS: Forgive an offender.

PRAYER: God, I have been harboring some pain and hurt. You know this injustice and understand it’s unfair. But in the tiny way, I am suffering, your Son suffered, and in this, I am becoming like him. Help me to let go of the bitterness from this offense and learn to forgive my offender as you have forgiven me.

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