Seventy Times Seven

Hurt. Offended. Betrayed. These three emotions can cause such havoc in your life and mental well-being. They consume your thought life, disrupting your concentration and your focus. They keep you up at night as you rehash and replay the very circumstance that brought the emotions in the first place.

And sadly, it is often the people in your life that are close to you that have the power to hurt you the most. What do you do when people you have confidence in let you down? How do you respond to betrayal? When your emotions feel abused, what should you do?

You forgive.

I don’t mean to oversimplify this act. I recognize how difficult it is to extend forgiveness to people who have wounded you. To make matters worse, many of you have been hurt over and over again by the same person. You might be thinking, “Jesus couldn’t possibly be suggesting that I need to keep extending forgiveness to the same person repeatedly.” Actually, He is.

I love the dialogue recorded between Peter and Jesus on this very subject:

Then Peter came to Him and said, “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

Peter thinks he is being so spiritual. The rabbis taught that forgiveness should be extended only three times. Seven times was extra generous. Surely, Jesus would be impressed. But, Jesus quickly corrects Peter, explaining that forgiveness has no limitations. You see, seventy times seven doesn’t represent an actual number. Instead, it represents the unlimited times we need to extend forgiveness to those who hurt us.

Ladies, I know that this may seem impossible and slightly unfair. But, our Heavenly Father continually forgives us for our sins. We offend Him. We hurt Him. And, we certainly have had our moments of betrayal, choosing our ways over His. Yet, His forgiveness is unlimited and so should ours be.

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. – Mark 11:25

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