• Herb & Diane

Forgiveness: What God Expects of Us – 70x7

What does God expect of us when we’re forgiving someone else?

Since today many will be gathering with family to celebrate Christmas, I thought it fitting to help us set the rudder of their lives by this post.

Peter and Jesus had an interesting conversation. Jesus was teaching and Peter asked the Lord, How often should I forgive my brother? Up to seven times? Jesus said, No, I do not say until seven times; I say to you seventy times seven.

Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

-Matthew 18:22

One day in my prayer time, I asked the Lord, “What did you mean by that?” This came into my heart and into my understanding: Our days are 24 hours long – 8 hours for work, 8 hours for family and 8 hours for sleep. 8-8-8. If you take 8 hours of the day, whether it’s for business, family or yourself, this is the whole dimension of human existence, others, yourself and so on. If you take 8 hours, how many minutes are there to an hour? Sixty. Sixty times 8 is 480. What is 70 x 7? 490.

I feel the Lord saying it this way: “Every minute of your day when your brother blows it regarding the same issue – minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day – release him.” But you say, “Lord, what if he does the same thing again?” Do you know how many people come to me and say, “I went to them, they repented and then they did it all over again”?

“How often, Lord, should my brother sin against me and repent to me and I should still be expected to forgive him?” Minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, release him. In releasing him, you have released yourself. Besides, when you go to other Scriptures, you quickly see that the Lord is his judge, not you.

Judge not, that ye be not judged. -Matthew 7:1

But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. – Romans 14:10

You forgive others because He has forgiven you. He has told you to forgive and you are His obedient child. When you have forgiven your brother his trespass, then God releases you because you have released your brother from his trespass.

When you forgive others, you are not letting them off the hook but giving them to God, still wiggling on the hook. You are not letting them off the hook and you are letting yourself off the hook.

(From “A More Excellent Way” by Dr. Henry W. Wright)

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