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SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN BIBLE STUDY ON FORGIVENESS
FORGIVE SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN TIMES COMMAND
Forgiveness ... Has different meanings for different
people and sometimes different meanings for the same people, depending
on what's being "forgiven". Actually, the meanings are very similar, but
the levels of forgiveness are different. The question is, What would
Jesus consider forgiveness? While you ponder on that, let's look at what He said about it.
If your brother sins against you, go and talk to him
about it alone, and if he will hear you (make peace), you've gained
your brother. In the book of
James gives us a clear picture of what happens when you gain your
brother. He says, Brothers, if any of you sin, and someone brings him to
repentance, let him know that the person who converts the sinner from
the error of his way will save a soul from death, and will hide a
multitude of sins.
What a wonderful reward!
But, Jesus said, If your brother won't make peace with
you, then take one or two people with you to witness and reason with him
19:15, 1 Timothy 5:19).
If he still doesn't want to make peace, tell the church, but if he still
refuses, think of him as a heathen and a publican. Honestly I tell you,
whoever's sins you retain on earth, will be found guilty in Heaven and
whoever's sin you forgive on earth, will be forgiven in Heaven.
tell you, if two agree on earth, concerning anything they ask, it will
be done for them by my Father in Heaven, because where two or three are
gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them.
This whole thing brought up a question in Peter's mind
and he asked Jesus, Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother if
he sins against me? Seven times? Jesus answered him, Not only seven
times, but seventy times seven.
Let's find out who we really are, shall
we? Remember when we said that the meaning of forgiveness differs from
person to person and circumstance to circumstance? Well, the reason we
seem to have given the act of forgiveness different levels, is so that
we can say we've forgiven, without truly forgiving. We feel
like as long as we've achieved or performed any given level of
forgiveness, we can take credit for the total act of this very important
We're gonna take a look at the different levels that we've divided
forgiveness up into and you can decide for yourself, which level(s)
you've chosen to grant to the people in your life. Some of these may
sound the same to you, but many people don't like to admit to something
(even to themselves) unless every word in the description are the words
they would use. These aren't in any order of importance.
You cease to feel resentment against an offender, but you really
don't trust them anymore.
You can forgive but you can't forget. You store a record of the
offence in the back of your mind just in case you need to bring it up
at a later date for any reason.
You claim to forgive, but your relationship has never been quite
the same with the person. You tolerate the offender
as much and as you can bear, because Jesus said to forgive.
Sometimes you rarely speak, if ever again, and the relationship ends
after the so-called forgiveness.
You excuse the offense, but you ridicule, deride, mock, taunt or
rally the offender, sometimes in anger and other times in humor.
You forgive outwardly for appearances, but inside you just can't
seem to forgive.
Some things you forgive, some things ya don't, it's complicated
And finally ...
You pardon someone totally and unconditionally. You continue to
love the person who sinned against you, just as you did before the
offense. It's as though it never even happened. Recollections of the
offense are not used for any reason. You don't forget
that you're a sinner yourself and mercy and grace are the greatest
gift that God has given you.
SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN BIBLE STUDY WARNING
FORGIVE SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN TIMES DANGER
Now, let's look at the
word forgive. The prefix for means before and the word give, in this case,
means commit. So, to forgive is to think of things as they were
before the offense was committed. You may say, That's a
tough thing to do, until you think about this: Have you ever done
anything that you wish you had never done; that if you could, you
would totally erase it from your life, that it would be forgotten
totally from anyone's memory who knows about it? It won't happen unless
you forgive others the same way. Remember when Jesus said, For with what
judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it
shall be measured to you again, Matthew 7:2.
Now that you turn things around, and your own forgiveness of others is
involved, you can relate better to the phrase forgive and forget. To sum
up this whole definition business, it would be fair to say that to
forgive IS to forget.
It's hard on both the offender and the victim of a
sin, when forgiveness is not granted. For the offender, they feel
untrusted and ashamed. It can weaken a person's soul to live with
knowing that you're not forgiven for something that you're so sorry for.
It's as if there's an invisible net around them that they can't escape.
To repent for something you've done, and not to be forgiven, is an
experience that God didn't want us to bear, and that's the whole reason
why we have the New Testament, and why Jesus died for us. It's a shame
that we've defiled this beautiful gift of grace with levels. Forgive the
way you want to be forgiven by God for things that you've done.
What about the victim of a sin? How can being
unforgiving hurt you? It's in your subconscious mind if you haven't
completely forgiven someone for something. Your mind knows what level
you've assigned to each act of forgiveness you've granted. You don't
think about it all the time, but the knowledge of it is there. This can
cause bitterness in your spirit that can affect other parts of your
life. Your faith will feel like it's tainted with guilt. That's because
you're being measured by God with the same forgiveness scale that
you're using. Your lack of trust in your offender can cause you to be
untrusting of others as well. If your offender is a loved one, you can
become blameful of them for unrelated things that happen in your life.
Unforgivingness can cause a chain of circumstances that prevent you from
being fruitful for God. Until you completely release your offender from
his sin, you'll remain in the same net that you've put him in.
We've done a pretty thorough job of putting
forgiveness into levels, now let's look at the levels that we've put sin
into. Are there sins that we simply find unforgivable and others that we
have no problem whatsoever forgetting? To that, I have to ask you, are
there some sins that youíve committed that you think God should hold you
accountable for, or do you want Him to forgive all of your sins?
In Mark 11:25-26
Jesus addressed this very thing. And when you
stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any: so your Father
in Heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if you don't forgive,
neither will your Father in Heaven forgive you.
Did you catch that? If you have anything
against any. Forgive all or you won't be forgiven. Sorry,
there are no categories for all. All means all. It doesn't limit the
number(s) or the intensity of the sin(s), or even how long ago they
happened, it's infinite.
Our report card on our forgiveness performance will be
administered to us on judgment day and we'll be remembered in Godís eyes
exactly the way we remembered (or forgave) others. We're gonna conclude
today's study with a parable that Jesus told Peter.
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king who
wanted to check on the debt of his servants. When he had begun to
estimate, one person was brought to him that owed him 10,000 talents (a
talent is an ancient coin of a certain weight). Since the man had no
money to pay, the king ordered that the servant, his wife, children and
all that he owned be sold so that he, the king, could be paid.
The servant fell down and begged, Lord, have patience
with me and I'll pay you everything I owe. The king was moved with
compassion and released him, and forgave him the debt. (The king
actually set the servant free AND wiped out the debt.)
The same servant went out and found one of his
fellow-servants, who owed him 100 pence (that's about one millionth of
the debt that the king forgave him for). He took him by the throat and
said, Pay me what you owe me! His fellow-servant fell at his feet and
begged him, Have patience with me and I'll pay you everything I owe. The
man would not, but he went and threw his fellow-servant into prison
until the man could pay the debt.
When the other servants saw what happened, they were
very sorry and went and told the king what was done. The king called him
and said, O you wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt because you
asked me, shouldn't you also have had mercy on your fellow-servant, like
I had mercy on you? And the king was angry and put him in jail until he
could pay all that he owed the king.
In the same way will my Heavenly Father do to you, if
you from your hearts don't forgive every one of your brothers for their
Okay, back to the beginning. Remember the question we
began with? What would Jesus consider forgiveness? My friend, the answer
is this: He's gonna use the definition you choose ... on you! With
that in mind, you may want to consider how generous you are with the
gift of forgiveness that you grant to others ... And to yourself!
SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN BIBLE STUDY SUMMARY
FORGIVE SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN TIMES CONCLUSION
It's never too late to forgive. There may be something
that happened years ago, maybe even in your childhood that you haven't
completely forgiven someone for. You can change that. You can free
yourself and other people to be more fruitful for God if you do. If
someone hasn't forgiven you for something, perhaps you'd like to ask
them to forgive you. You're not only seeking for peace for your own
soul, but you're also giving them a chance to escape that invisible net
that they've unknowingly put themselves in as well.
God's grace is above all, the most precious gift we have. You can
read more about His grace on THE
GRACE PAGE and it will enlighten you even more about how to
extend your own mercy and grace to others. Every day is a new beginning,
every moment, a fresh start. Clean your slate and give others a chance
to clean theirs too.
Our Seventy Times Seven Bible study on the statement from Jesus that
we are to forgive seventy times seven times simply means that we must
choose to forgive all for ourselves to be forgiven by God.
TO NEXT STUDY