70×7 – The Formula of Forgiveness

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The Lord Jesus Christ commands us to forgive people. And he punctuates it with this statement: “so that your Father in heaven may forgive you.” If you forgive, God forgives you. If you don’t forgive, God will not forgive you (Matthew 6:14-15).

One of the more challenging things about forgiveness is that it’s not a once in a while kind of thing. We are to continuously forgive each other. To emphasize this point, Matthew records a conversation between Jesus and the Apostle Peter.

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven’” (Matthew 18:21-22).

By the way, Jesus does more than just command us to forgive. He gave us the ultimate example. When he was dying for crimes he did not commit, Jesus looked down at his tormentors and said: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34a).

Larry Fitzgerald
Abilene, TX

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