I hate math. I’m pretty sure that I failed the class several times throughout my school years. It also gave me a headache. Numbers and I just do not get along. My triplets are learning how to add so they are constantly asking me what something plus something means and even though I am super proud of them, I can’t stand that they are trying to get my to do math all the time. Shame on them. Don’t they know that daddy is the smart one? Go ask him math questions and call me when you have a cleaning questions. OK, I’m a liar, I hate cleaning too. Maybe I don’t have a specialty that they know they should come to me when they need an answer. Well, now that I think of it, my specialty might be forgiveness. If they have a question about that I can answer it for them, no problem. I’m not calling myself a victim, I have just been through a lot of crazy events in my life that have required a forgiveness that surpasses the norm. I’ve also had to beg for forgiveness countless times in my life. I’m good at it. I strongly believe in second chance. I also believe that we are all human and make huge mistakes. I think that most of us are not malicious and do not intentionally set out to hurt each other. We all deserve grace. But….Jesus said something to Peter that I really hate. It makes me want to turn my back on Jesus and tell Him that He is wrong. It all went down like this.
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Matthew 18:21-22
Okay, I’m not good at math but I used my calculator and it turns out that 7 times 70 times is 490! That just can’t be! Jesus must not have been good at math either because if He knew how much that added up to then He would have NEVER held us to that standard. I mean really, 490 times. That is ridiculous. It seems impossible and I really don’t feel like doing it. Unfortunately we don’t get a choice in the matter. When Jesus says something then we better listen and obey because he doesn’t just say it for grins. We don’t get a hall pass. We don’t get to choose who we forgive and who we don’t and we don’t get to choose how many times we forgive them. It got me thinking about who has to forgive me and who I have to forgive. Do you think that Jesus just meant the little things are the ones that we have to forgive 490 times or is it the big stuff too (oh please say just the little stuff)? In my house full of girls I can’t tell you how many times I have to say “tell your sister that you are sorry” and then I expect the “victim” to forgive her sister. In the last 12 years of being a mother I can not imagine how many times I have told my girls to ask for forgiveness. I can forgive the little things with ease but what about those huge offenses? Really 490! Yep, even the huge offenses. It doesn’t matter how big or small, we don’t have any other option but to forgive. We can’t receive it if we can’t give it. I also don’t think that Jesus really meant 490 times. I think that He was saying that we have to forgive over and over and there is no end. There is no limit to God’s forgiveness for us and there should be no limit on our forgiveness for others. Does that kind of stink or what? It stinks if your on the side that has to forgive but not the side that needs forgiveness. May be the person that you need to forgive is looking back at you in the mirror. That might be the hardest forgiveness to give. Forgiving doesn’t mean that we have to keep that person in our lives. It doesn’t mean that we have to be their friend. It doesn’t mean that what they have done is okay and it doesn’t mean that we are weak. What it doesn’t mean is that you are not going to keep yourself a prisoner to the feeling that consumed you and lived in you. Free yourself. Show yourself and show others what God’s love looks like. Be an example of what faith, acceptance and forgiveness look like. Every night in my prayers there is always something that I have to ask God to forgive me for and He always gives it to me. Who am I to think that I have the power to withhold forgiveness from someone else. Let’s Pray “Merciful Father thank you for the countless times that you have so freely given me the forgiveness that I do not deserve. Please help us to have strong enough hearts to give forgiveness where we need to. Give us the courage to fall at Your feet and confess our sins to You so that You can free us of them. Help us to bring our burdens to the cross and leave them there. In Jesus name, amen”. We need to say some extra prayers this week for all that happened over the weekend. There are many many people who are going to struggle with forgiving the boy who took so many lives. Some may never forgive and some may have already forgiven but they will all need our prayers and God’s healing hand. When you are praying for these families please do not forget to pray for the family of the boy who did it, they are forgotten victims and probable hated by many right now. They are grieving for the families and grieving for who there son turned to be. The victims may not be able to pray for them yet so it will be our responsibility until they are ready. God is giving us the chance to show everyone what a Christian heart looks like, let us not waste this opportunity.