This text contains a very important interchange between Jesus and Peter.
And although in total it contains just a couple of sentences it is very important.
Jesus has been talking about dealing with a brother who sins against you and after that teaching Peter came to ask Jesus a question about forgiveness.
We are going to talk about that text and discuss forgiveness for a few minutes this morning.
Let’s read Matthew 18: 21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" 22Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[f]
I. How Many Times Shall I Forgive?
Peter already he knew that he had to forgive because Jesus had taught them about forgiveness.
So rather than ask if he has to forgive instead he asks how many times he has to forgive.
Peter thinks that forgiving 7 times is a lot.
I mean, after all, how far do you go when someone continues to fail you?
After 7 times surely there comes a time when you don’t have to take it anymore.
And in a human sense that may be enough but in God’s economy 7 times is just a part of how forgiving God desires for us to be.
From Jesus response to Peter’s question, that’s clear.
He says you should not only forgive 7 times but 70 x 7.
The Matthew Henry Commentary calls that a definite number for an indefinite number.
The answer to Peters question is that God desires us to be forgiving without end.
So the question is
II. Why Is Forgiveness So Important?
a. Forgiveness Gets Rid Of Strife And Anger And Conflict
Ephesians 4: 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Forgiveness brings peace.
Forgiveness allows for healing to occur.
Because as long as we are holding that grudge there is a poison present that can only be taken care of when we have decided to forgive and let the situation become a part of the past.
Here’s a simple example of how deciding to forgive does this.
Proverbs 15: A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs says that a gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Those things that happen with other people are extremely hurtful and often a lot of anger accompanies a person’s hurt.
When we decide that we are going to forgive here’s how peace begins to replace the strife and anger.
At this point peaceful words are spoken for the first time in a long time.
The key for all this to happen is to choose to forgive.
I’ve got a little video clip for you, it’s from a movie called Wondrous Oblivion – Making Amends from www.wingclips.com.
In the clip a boy gets caught between his friends that don’t want to have anything to do with a girl because of her color and his friendship with her.
You have to choose, it’s your decision.