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Peter asked, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus replied, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”Matthew 18:21-22
When it comes to relationships, the world tends to use the rule of “one, two, three strikes, and you’re out.” There is even a growing trend of a “one and done” mindset where there is no possible chance of reconciliation. For many of us, we have been on the receiving end of someone’s unwillingness to forgive, but before we feel all victimized, let’s admit that we too were unwilling to forgive others at one time or another.
In the spiritual sense, that is the same hopeless state of mind that Satan wants us to have when we seek God’s forgiveness. Satan wants us to believe that we have crossed that line in the sand or traveled beyond the point of no return. In other words, the devil wants us to think we have committed an unpardonable sin, one that God would never consider forgiving. All of which is nothing more than sinister propaganda invented by Satan and company.
To put in modern terms, the words of Satan are nothing more than fake news, but the word of God is the only real news you can use. The Bible teaches: “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion” (Pro. 28:13). It also tells us that God is always faithful and forgiving to those who faithfully confess their sin.
Perhaps you have heard the phrase, “I can forgive, but never forget.” It is a mindset that people have when it comes to those who have hurt them. However, the phrase is contradictory because if a person is unwilling to forget, that person is likely reluctant to forgive someone who has genuinely apologized. Such a mindset will never lead to reconciliation in a relationship because the reminder is everpresent front and center.
True reconciliation never focuses on the rearview mirror of life; instead, it focuses on the possibilities of the open road ahead.
God stands ready to forgive those willing to confess and turn from their sins. He does this lovingly, not begrudgingly, and He said, “For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more” (Heb. 8:12). God so loves His children; He not only forgives their sins but also chooses to remember their sins no more. He gives us one second chance after another not because He does not care but because He does care and desires to see us become spiritually mature.
When Jesus taught the importance of forgiveness to His disciples, Peter asked, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus replied, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Matt. 18:21-22). The notion here is that one will either lose count or lose interest in counting long before reaching the sum.
There is, however, in fact, a point of no return. That point is one’s physical death, and those who choose not to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord in this life will not stand before God in the next as a forgiven soul but one that is condemned. Once a person’s soul crosses the threshold between this life and the next, it is too late to accept Jesus and be forgiven. Here is the good news! Until that point in time, God stands ready to give second chance after second chance and forgive those who genuinely seek Him.
Therefore, be encouraged to take the time to talk to God, ask Him to search you to reveal any unconfessed sins in your life. Apostle John wrote, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Now, let us take time in the privacy of our thoughts and talk to God.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
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