Hope and Forgiveness

by Kim McDougal

“Then Peter came up to Him and said, Lord, how many times may my brother sin against me and I forgive him and let it go? [As many as] up to seven times? Jesus answered him, I tell you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven!” – Matthew 18:21-22 (AMP)

I forgive you, but I hope you have learned your lesson and you won’t do that again!Is this really the act of forgiveness? Not if you’re keeping score. Have you had anyone in your life hurt you over and over again? I’m pretty sure a lot of us have. And according to our scripture today, it doesn’t matter how many times a person hurts us, Jesus wants us to forgive them. I think what makes it hard for us to do this is, because we don’t see the correlation between somebody sinning against us and us sinning against God. How many times has God had to forgive you and I? If we could really see how grieved God is when we goof up, maybe we could more easily extend God’s grace to someone who has hurt us. Notice I said, “extend God’s grace.” My grace isn’t sufficient, because in my finite mind, I’d like the person to learn their lesson. But, I can extend God’s grace, because He extended His grace towards me.

Grace is something you and I cannot earn. We can do nothing to get it. It was given to us, because our Lord had compassion and mercy on us. And if I’m real with myself, I still mess up. My thoughts aren’t always pure, I don’t say the right things all the time, my attitude needs adjusting, sometimes I get frustrated quickly, etc. All these things have to be taken to the Lord in repentance and His grace gets extended over me to cover my sins that grieves Him. Sometimes it comes right down to: “Whose grace are we going to give, ours or Christ’s? We can extend God’s grace, because His grace is sufficient. Today, let God love through us even if we have to forgive 70 x 7!

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