Calculated Risks

I was reminded today of that passage of Scripture that recounts a conversation Peter and Jesus shared. You know the one… Peter wanted to know how many times to forgive someone. Jesus answered him “Seventy times Seven”. We can solve this mathematically, but somehow struggle with it practically. Here’s how it works. “I know I need to forgive, but they’ve done this to me before.” The underlying current of thought is “… and I know they’ll do it again.” Jesus wasn’t giving us a math problem to solve, He was taking the concept of forgiveness to its rightful extreme. Are you attempting to keep a tally of the times you’ve forgiven someone to measure it against the calculated 490 times for an offense toward you? Jesus isn’t concerned with the number of times we need to forgive, for surely this number is exponentially impossible to calculate. Jesus is teaching us that our attitude toward forgiveness must rise above the number of times forgiveness is needed. Indeed, your 491st sin against God didn’t peak his forgiveness of you and the accruing offenses of others toward you may well surpass that number. So a more accurate understanding of the practical application of this passage is to see that “Seventy times Seven” is to be viewed as “Surrender times Surrender”. Surrender is what Jesus is looking for in our response to being offended. Our immediate response to a chronic offender is not to find ways to block them out of our lives, but to seek God’s Wisdom found in Proverbs 19:11 where we are encouraged to “overlook an offense.” Extend forgiveness that Christ won on the cross and has bestowed upon us. Mathematically 490 equates to surrender infinitely.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *