MATTHEW 18: 21-22 LORD, HOW MANY TIMES SHALL I FORGIVE MY BROTHER OR SISTER WHO SINS AGAINST ME? UP TO SEVEN TIMES?

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Good day People of GOD 🙂

Today we will be looking at Matthew 18: 21-22, where Peter asks JESUS how many times he has to forgive his brother or neighbour in one day, and JESUS says he should forgive 490 times daily.

21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22Jesus answered, “I tell you, not just seven times, but seventy-seven times (NIV)!

Peter is asking if seven times is enough to forgive someone for offending him.  Maybe he expects JESUS to say maximum 7 times. But, JESUS takes us all by surprise. HE says Peter should not forgive seven times, but 70 x 7 (= 490) times a day!

Wow! You could say, ‘LORD, give us a break!’ Surely, you cannot get offended 490 times a day! However, JESUS would not say something HE does not mean. GOD honours HIS Word above HIS Holy Name (Psalm 138: 2).  So, when JESUS says you should forgive 490 times a day, well HE means that you should forgive every offence and everyone that offends you, even if it is the same person.

I don’t know your history, but you might have been hurt in the past. You might have been hurt by someone you trusted, by someone who was meant to protect you. You might have been betrayed or stabbed in the back. Somebody you have always loved and trusted may have dashed your legitimate expectations into pieces. And now, you have to forgive. Is it that easy? Absolutely not. Forgiveness is not a walk in the park like some zealous people make it sound. Even JESUS does not make it sound easy- look at how HE easily forgives people for things like spiting on him, and hurting him with a crown made of thorns. In the midst of such treatment, HE prays to GOD to forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23: 34).

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Some of our zealous brothers and sisters even add ‘forgetting’ to the mix. You should not only forgive, but you should also forget. Well, that’s impossible. Unless, you suffer from amnesia or something similar. It’s never easy. Especially if you see the same person that hurt you everyday, do you forget how they hurt you and go back to them so they can stab you again? Remember the saying: once bitten, twice shy. And only a foolish man does not learn from his mistakes. So, to make it simple: just forgive, but don’t put pressure on yourself to forget. What JESUS wants is for you to see past that person’s mistakes, and offence, and show them love. However, if on the basis of the fact that somebody has hurt you, you do not show them love, then, you have not forgiven. And you are a sinner whose prayers will not be answered (Matthew 6: 12). JESUS says in Matthew 6: 14-

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you (NIV).

The point of loving someone else is compromise and sacrifice. You love that person regardless of their past mistakes, offences, or their past. So, when you forgive, you are truly exercising love like GOD does. For GOD so loved the world (that has offended, disobeyed, sinned against and cursed HIM times without number), that HE gave HIS only Begotten Son, so he who believes in HIM shall have everlasting life (John 3: 16).

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If you truly love the LORD JESUS, you would obey HIS EVERY COMMAND (John 14: 15). NO MATTER WHAT. No matter how difficult it is. Remember, GOD’s Commandments are not grievous (1 John 5: 3). Rather, obeying them helps you to be a better person. A Better Christian.

Why should you forgive?

First, Forgiveness releases you from the chains of pain. Of revenge. Of bitterness. When you forgive another, you’re doing yourself a big favour. When you forgive, you are doing it for yourself. Saving your soul from destruction as a result of bitterness. I have been there. Let me tell you a bit of a story. In junior high school, I was bullied, by classmates who just hated me for no reason. I was a victim of misfired aggression, envy and hate. I still do not understand why I never defended myself against the attacks of those people. I just could not- maybe it was a mental or spiritual struggle- I’m not sure. Then, I left the school to move to another state. After I left, it was as if I woke up from a trance, and realised where I was at that stage- my self esteem and confidence was at zero levels. I also realised that the well of bitterness in my soul was so deep, I thought it reached Heaven. To cut the long story short, it took me almost five years to let go of bitterness, forgive those people and forgive myself. I could not realise my inner potential until then. I understood how bitterness and unforgiveness can imprison one’s life and potential.

Secondly, when you forgive others (and yourself if necessary), you let go of emotional baggage, and your soul is lighter and merrier. The merrier your soul, the healthier you are, and the longer you can live (Proverbs 17: 22). The main function of unforgiveness is to leave your soul lying broken in pieces. Thus, when you forgive, you set yourself free. Even scientists and psychologists and pastors have admonished us to forgive faster and easier. Why? We do it for ourselves. So, even if you get hurt 490 times in one day, you must forgive.

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Finally, forgiveness is a virtue. Forgiveness is also a key that can unlock the cage of bitterness in which you have held yourself. It is not costly. Forgive, so that you can move on with your life, and be the arbiter of your fate.

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May the LORD bless the study of HIS Awesome Word in JESUS’ Name!

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GOD bless you all ♥♥♥

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