S208P5 – A new family: a new grace

Mt. 18:21‭-‬22

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

When I was a child, I was like most children, and the smallest things would upset me much more than they should.  A simple issue like another child taking a toy from me might send me over the edge into a tantrum.  The people with whom I most had these kinds of issues were the other children in our home.  We spent so much time together that we often got on one another’s nerves and upset one another.  When that happened, mom would make the culprit apologize, and we would go back to normal.  As we aged, we somehow found it more difficult to bounce back from those offenses.  We grew tired of apologies and decided that they sometimes simply were not enough.

Peter’s question to Jesus is one of limits.  Whenever I hear a question like this being posed to someone in authority, I get the feeling that the one posing the question is simply trying to determine how much he or she is really required to do.  One with a truly forgiving heart will not ask how much forgiveness is necessary.  He or she will simply forgive and enjoy that personal restoration enough to forget the habitual offenses.  We might have spiritual brothers and sisters who offend us quite often, but we must take their repentance as sincere and grant forgiveness.  As long as repentance shows up, we must be ready and willing to let go.

We all have found ourselves deciding that there is someone who just does not deserve our forgiveness anymore.  Unfortunately, it is typically true that those who are closest to us are those who are most able to hurt us.  What we will find in life is that frequent offenses will come from the dearest sources.  When we think about the Church and her purpose, we must understand that unity is paramount.  That is why the Lord asks us to forgive and restore our brothers and sisters at all cost.  It is never about my offense but always about our corporate health.  Where there is repentance, we must forgive.  Father, teach us to be forgiving toward the brethren without the desire to find reasons to withhold that grace but always seeking restoration.