DAY 224 OF 365 IN 2021
JUST KEEP FORGIVING
Matthew 18:22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven each
Whenever Jesus was asked a question, one was more likely to receive a parable or question in response than a straightforward reply. Today’s text is one of those rare occasions where the eagle-eyed would spot that Jesus gave a definite answer, or did He? In his discourse with Peter, they are talking a numbers game about the number of times to forgive another person who offends.
Peter’s suggestion is 7 times, but that of Jesus suggests ‘seventy seven times’. Although numerically symbolic, if we are very literal, by basic arithmetic, seventy seven times amounts to 490 chances per head; and that does seem like enough chances to be forgiven. But think about this: how much effort is required to religiously keep a record of all the people in our lives and the number of times each of them offends us?
Even if all the people in our life can be counted on one hand, it will be very unusual to keep a record of the number of chances left out of the suggested 490. Furthermore, there are many people who will offend us and require forgiveness many more times than this. In fact, there are some things forgiven that some will argue count towards more than one chance.
Thus, the number mentioned in the Gospel should not be seen just in black and white, but as a way of telling us
“keep forgiving until you lose track of the count” because God does the same.