How wonderful it is to be reassured by the psalmist David that, “The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.” God’s grace and forgiveness is inexhaustible, “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our sins.”
In last week’s Gospel, Jesus taught his disciples how to treat a believer who sins, in order ultimately, to achieve reconciliation and harmony. This week, Jesus leads us one step further. Peter poses the question, “Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me?” He tentatively suggests that this could be seven times, possibly because seven was viewed as the perfect number. Bearing in mind that Rabbis taught that people should only forgive those who offended them three times, Jesus, by contrast, places no limit on it; the figure seventy-seven was given as an illustration of a countless number. In The Lord’s Prayer, we pray for God’s mercy but equally we are expected to show mercy to others.
How can we be forgiven otherwise?
“Forgiving is not so much about forgetting as about remembering without bitterness or acrimony in our hearts.” (Bible Alive 13.09.20)