Saturday, May 13, 2017

Seventy Times Seven

Anger and bitterness wrapped around the words tumbling carelessly out of my mouth, accusing an estranged friend how much pain and destruction he caused in my life many years ago. It was a self-righteous, merciless, and hypocritical response which I tried to justify in my prayers this morning. I should have pleaded with the Lord to forgive me for not forgiving this man.  

I went for a walk in the blustering wind. "Who does he think I am that I would so easily forgive and forget! He tore my family to shreds, and he is asking me to forgive him? Never!"
A sudden rush of tears...I'm not crying, it's this brutal wind... but then came that dark image of me: an unrepentant criminal scurrying down an alley like a rat.

Despite the warmth of my kitchen, and coffee, and my classical music, I could not shake this intense guilt.  I opened my Bible to Matthew.  Christ is teaching His disciples about forgiveness. It was compelling and convicting...especially His answer to Peter.  (Matthew 18:21-22)

The Lord's will is that we forgive as He forgives us, showing mercy to the ones who do us wrong, to the depth that He forgave us in Christ, "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

Commentary by Matthew Henry

"Those that come to God for the forgiveness of their sins against him, must make conscience of forgiving those who have offended them, else they curse themselves when they say the Lord's prayer. We must forbear, and forgive, and forget the affronts put upon us, and the wrongs done us; and this is a moral qualification for pardon and peace.
Lord, how oft shall my brother trespass against me, and I forgive him? Will it suffice to do it seven times? 

  • He takes it for granted that he must forgive; Christ had before taught his disciples this lesson (Matthew 6:14,15), and Peter has not forgotten it. He knows that he must not only not bear a grudge against his brother, or meditate revenge, but be as good a friend as ever, and forget the injury.

  • He thinks it is a great matter to forgive till seven times.
Christ's direct answer to Peter's question; I say not unto thee, Until seven times (he never intended to set up any such bounds), but, Until seventy times seven; a certain number for an indefinite one, but a great one. It is necessary to the preservation of peace, both within and without, to pass by injuries, without reckoning how often; to forgive, and forget. God multiplies his pardons, and so should we. It intimates that we should make it our constant practice to forgive injuries, and should accustom ourselves to it till it becomes habitual.

  • Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. Those, and those only, may expect to be forgiven of God, who forgive their brethren.

When we pray to God as our Father in heaven, we are taught to ask for the forgiveness of sins, as we forgive our debtors. Observe here:

  • The duty of forgiving; we must from our hearts forgive. Note, We do not forgive our offending brother aright, nor acceptably, if we do not forgive from the heart; for that is it that God looks at. No malice must be harboured there, nor ill will to any person, one or another; no projects of revenge must be hatched there, nor desires of it, as there are in many who outwardly appear peaceable and reconciled. Yet this is not enough; we must from the heart desire and seek the welfare even of those that have offended us"


  1. If we do not forgive, we place ourselves before the glory of God and become the accuser, the judge, the avenger. From a spirit of unforgiveness springs a root of bitterness. This is a terrible thing to have, a terrible thing to witness in others, and to be its target. The bitter waters are poison. Who can drink them and live? The glory of the Father is His Son. The Father and the Son each gave all He had so we could be reconciled to God: the Father gave His only progeny; the Son gave His life and even laid down His status with the Father for us. God hath no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked; but he hath great pleasure in His mercy and grace.

    In the law of Moses every seven years is the Sabbath year when all debts are forgiven.

    Every seven times seven years is the Jubilee year when all lost lands and inheritance are restored.

    There is no provision in the law of Moses for the seven times seventy years. This the Lord seems to hold in His rich, immeasurable store of grace, His gift of Himself to us. Four hundred and ninety years, in preparation for the visitation of Messiah, in silence God forebear the sins of His people, having promised to remove their sins, restore their inheritance, and cancel all debts.

    As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He remove our transgressions from us. Seven times seventy.

    Jesus does not command us here to do a new thing. He has already purposed it. He has done it.

    When we wrestle against our unforgiveness, we come to realize what a force it is, a persistent and crafty tempter and a robber of heavenly treasures. In overcoming we build an understanding of what a great gift the Father's forgiveness is, and at what great cost personal He gives it.

    This entry of yours is another wellspring of meditation, Angelina. God bless you, sister.

  2. Thank you for reading this. And for leaving such beautiful comments. I really take your comments to Heart. As well as on G+ and in our little community. You are kind. Thank you