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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Seventy Times Seven

“Lord,” Peter asked Jesus, “how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” 

—Matthew 18:21-22


Forgiveness should never stop at one or even seven times. It should flow without hindrance. Jesus knew the cost of forgiveness for the pain of bitterness and hatred. His mercy paid the ultimate price at Calvary. “Seventy times seven” becomes immeasurable forgiveness for those who receive God’s love. But do we forgive with the mercy that Jesus gave to us? Do we love others no matter their ugliness as we are loved despite ours? 


There is a lot of sin in this world, which stirs grief and despair and hate. The world is full of the anguish of death, illness, and prejudice. The list of pain is endless. We, who believe in the redeeming love Jesus, don't need to be a part of the grief. We need to be the forgiving hands and feet of Jesus. If we can't offer the compassionate love of Jesus, what good did His mercy do for us?


The only answer for peace and healing is Christ. And that is not a politicized Jesus. Only the pure grace of Jesus, with no other agenda, gives freedom from alienation and brings healing. Only His grace heals the sin and sickness of a broken world and says, “I love you.” 


Jesus replaces the burned-out ashes of life with a beauty that nothing on earth has the power to give. He gives a life of peace and joy instead of one defined by grief. He inspires praise, which rebukes fear and offers hope. Having received the mercy of His righteousness, we have nothing to prove self-righteously. We are free to forgive because we are so generously forgiven. Does His love strengthen us during challenging times so that we love others during theirs? Are peace and joy our anchors?


How do you experience the mercy of Jesus? Do you have peace and joy despite the world's plagues and hatred? Do you have forgiveness that heals grief? Jesus has planted His life in you, but have you grown in the revelation understanding of God’s love? Until you have grown, your roots will give you little strength. Peace and joy will be elusive. Fear and anger will be your initial responses to what you hear or see. Jesus is forgiveness and healing. Jesus was moved with compassion to heal. The only ones He condemned while on earth were the self-righteous Pharisees. He loved and forgave those considered dirty and sinful and unlovable. Jesus forgives the world despite its hatred for him. If someone doesn’t know that truth and hasn’t received the forgiveness of Jesus, he will experience frustration and bitterness at man’s inhumanity to man. Jesus is the only answer to man's cruelty. And if we, with the love of Jesus, can’t offer grace to a hurting world, then what use are we?


Right before us is a broken world desperate for peace and seeking the answer. Man doesn’t have the answer with political or public health opinions. The world needs more than an opinion. It needs forgiveness. The grace of Jesus awakens the hearts of those who don’t know Him—and also our hardened hearts—if we allow. Let His grace awaken yours. Receive His mercy in depths that you have never before allowed. His grace is your freedom to love an angry and hurting world as He has loved you in your anger and hurt.


“Lord,” Peter asked Jesus, “how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!”



©2020 Lynn Lacher


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