Friday, June 29, 2012

7 times 70

"Then Peter came and said to Him, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?'  Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.'"       Matthew 18:21-22

Forgiveness is such a hard gift to give.  As humans, it's probably one of the most difficult acts of love for us to live out.

I heard or read somewhere within the past year (I cannot for anything think of where!  I do not like not being able to give credit where credit is due...) a different take on the verse above that has really stuck with me.  So often we translate the meaning of that 22nd verse as Jesus's way of poetically explaining that forgiveness has no limit.  We are to always forgive those who sin against us as Christ continually forgives us.  I agree with that thought.  However, the source which I cannot remember brought a new thought to light.  And here recently, I've begun to lean on that version more and more.

What if those 490 times which Jesus refers to as an appropriate amount of forgiveness is the number of times we should forgive someone for the SAME offense?  We so often parallel this number with separate hurts--if someone does wrong to us 490 separate times, we should forgive them each and every time.  But how often is it that you say you've forgiven someone, but your mind keeps drifting back to those arguments and hurt feelings?  You continually bring up past grievances when new ones arise?

So this new interpretation stated that we should keep forgiving that person for that same transgression, even if it takes us 490 times to truly get to that place of peaceful release; when we can truly put those feelings aside; when they no longer creep into our minds, unsettling our relationships.  And sometimes and with some people, it takes ALL 490 times...

Humans are fabulous at hurting one another.  If someone (or "someones") have hurt you recently, keep forgiving them.  Talk to them.  You may not trust them anymore--and that can take a LONG time to achieve again.  You may not heal quickly.  But keep forgiving them.  Even if it takes 490 times for you to get there...

Simmer that in your minds and hearts for a while...

love, angie

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