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Seventy Times Seven

There's an interaction in Matthew chapter 18 where Peter is asking Jesus about how many times he is to forgive someone who sins against him. It doesn't specifically say that this person is Peter's enemy, but if they keep on antagonizing, I feel like that's an enemy for sure.

Peter asks Jesus how many times he is supposed to forgive them and then suggests "Up to seven times?" I fully believe Peter was not prepared for what Jesus was about to respond with. I know i wouldn't have expected his answer.

If you're like me, if I were Peter, I would be looking for the permission to stop loving and forgiving this enemy in my life. In my heart of hearts honestly I would be expecting Jesus to say "Oh Miranda, not even seven. You can stop at four or three or two!" But that's not what Jesus says because that's not who Jesus is. Who Jesus is makes me think of the line in 'Reckless Love' that says "when I was your foe, still your love fought for me."

Jesus responds to Peter and says that it's not just up to seven times, it's up to seventy times seven. And i'm pretty sure he didn't even mean that if you literally go to 490 then you could stop. Jesus' thing is unconditional never-ending forgiveness and love. I know we like to get all self-righteous and say that we wouldn't need to be forgiven that many times, but let's be honest........ we should be praising God that He doesn't stop forgiving or loving us at 490.

I know it's hard. I know it feels impossible. But if we truly want to be like Christ then we must somehow muster within us the ability to love and forgive well beyond what we actually want to love and forgive. And that goes for friends, family, and enemies.

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