Seventy times Seven

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A Nugget from New Life Network

Scripture for the Day (October 4, 2017)

And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. (Mark 11:25)

I was reading an article the other day written by a Catholic Priest. Now, don’t faint on me. I haven’t converted to Catholicism. However, they are a part of the Body of Christ and as such have been given certain gifts that we need and that we can learn from.

This particular Priest was writing about bitterness and unforgiveness. He said when he first entered the ministry he felt like 40-50% of people’s problems were rooted in bitterness and unforgiveness. After 10 years in the ministry, he revised his estimated to 70%. After 20 years in the ministry, he revised his estimate to 90%. After 35 years in the ministry, we agree with him.

There is a very interesting parable that Jesus spoke to His disciples in Luke 17 regarding forgiveness:

Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. (Luke 17:1-4)

Jesus took it a step further in Matthew when He told Peter he had to forgive seventy times seven which is basically forever and always, regardless of the times.

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:21-22)

Notice that Jesus said in Luke that offenses would come to all of us. No one is exempt, not even Jesus. The question is how are we going to deal with them? The disciples balked at this seven times deal, just like some of us do. Seven times in a day??? Seventy times seven??? Lord, we are going to need more faith if you want us to do that (Luke 17:5).

The next few verses spoken by Jesus gives His response to the disciples request for more faith. The Lord answered, “If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you! When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say, ‘Come in and eat with me’? No, he says, ‘Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat. Then you can eat later.’ And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do? Of course not. In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty. (Luke 17:6-10, NLT)

What is Jesus saying here? He is telling His disciples (which includes us) you don’t need more faith. What you need is to obey!!! It is that simple and we miss it because it does not make earthly sense to us. We think it has to be more complicated than that. Surely these people that offended us need to be punished in some manner. Surely I’m not required to forgive them over and over again. Yes we are, if we want to be free! We don’t need more faith to forgive. We just need to obey!!! Remember? Obedience is better than sacrifice!

 

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