How Many Times

September 13, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

The Gospel Lesson for today is Matthew 18:21-35. Peter, like everyone of us, has been harmed by someone else. And he asks Jesus, "How many times must I forgive? Seven times?", which sounds like a generous offer. But Jesus replies, "Seventy time seven." The parable following this passage is troublesome on many levels and those questions entice us to evade the push of Jesus' answer. We all want forgiveness. It is hard to keep giving it over and over to those who wound us again and again. Who is going to forgive that much?

It is not about counting or keeping track of wrongs. Life is not about revenge. Rather, we are to practice extending forgiveness. Easy to say, tough to do. But this is advice about how to live in community. Sooner or later, we all need to be forgiven for a word or an action that harmed another. And we will want the other to forgive us. Again and again and again. If our relationship is going to grow, forgiveness will be an essential part of our living together.


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