Forgiveness 490

One day Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive someone who sinned against him.  Peter thought he was being generous when he suggested seven times.   Many people know Jesus’ answer.  The Lord said “Not seven times, but seventy times seven.”


Seventy times seven is only 490.  I’m in trouble.  I know there are people who I’ve offended at least 490 times.  Friends I’ve known several decades and family members come to mind.  And certainly I’ve gone well over that number with God.


Some Bible teachers say that Jesus meant “seventy times seven per day.”  Others teach that he was just pulling a large number out of the air to make a point, like someone who says “I’ve been down that street a thousand times.”


I believe in taking the Bible literally, however, and Jesus Himself said seventy times seven… 490.  That means I’m still in trouble.  Or at least I would be, were it not for another verse of scripture: “Love keeps no record of when it has been wronged.”


So, as Jesus said, one person must forgive another person 490 times.  But as the Bible also says, if I love, I won’t keep a tally of when I’ve needed to forgive.  So if I’m counting how often I’ve forgiven, I’ll never even get to “two.”


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