Daily Devotional

September 10, 2019

The Mathematics of Forgiveness

Matthew 18:21-22
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.


 Written by: Robert Watson

Jewish rabbis (teachers) of the time had discussed at length the amount of times one should choose to forgive their neighbor. They had come to the conclusion that an appropriately gracious amount would be up to, but no more than three times.

Peter had astutely observed the exceedingly generous nature of Jesus and therefore suggested doubling it plus one. Surely Jesus would be impressed by Peter. Instead Jesus says seventy-seven, or as it is understood in its Greek context: seventy sevens.

70 x 7 = 490 times

Peter only made it 1.4% of the way.

The point is that you don’t have to keep track of the number of times you have forgiven somebody. In reality, keeping track will keep us from truly forgiving. Forgiveness means canceling the debt, which is difficult to do when we keep detailed numbered records of each and every offense.

9.10Thought of the day: Is there somebody in your life you have grown tired of forgiving? It could mean that you need to build some healthy margins to minimize the damage. But it doesn’t mean that you should stop offering forgiveness.

Prayer: Pray for that person who has a tendency to need repeated forgiveness. Pray that God would transform them into the person He desires them to be. Pray for your own heart, that you would be patient and apply the mathematics of ongoing forgiveness as you leave the rest in God’s hands.

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