Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
A question that perplexed the disciples of Jesus perplexes us today: Peter asked, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" The "sin" obviously was not an ordinary one: it was "against" Peter, something that wounded him personally. The apostle was mature enough spiritually to realize that "seven" is a complete number; it must be the limit for this difficult task.
The sin "against" him was so hurtful that Peter felt it threatened his personhood. Already he was beginning to sense dimly that Jesus was a "Forgiver": little inklings of what led Him later to pray for His murderers, "Father, forgive them!" were showing through. Peter understood that it was his duty to forgive; but it was difficult to do! Nurturing resentment was so sweet to indulge in.
When Jesus enlarged the limit to "seventy times seven" He told about the enormously guilty yet forgiven thief who couldn't forgive his debtor his trifling debt. He ended the little session with the blunt warning that His heavenly Father will not forgive us our "trespasses" if we do not forgive, from our heart, our brother his trespasses, especially those we feel are so "against" us (Matt. 18:21-35).
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 26, 2005.
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