The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225

  (609)646-1181

Church of Christ

10/09/2008

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To Err Is Human....

"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times" (Matt. 18:21)?

Here are some quotable quotes about forgiveness: "Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them quite so much", "After a good meal I can forgive anyone, even relatives", When burying the hatchet, make sure it isn't in someone's back", "Forgiveness warms the heart and cools the sting", "It is far better to forgive and forget than to hate and remember", I'll admit, I do like this one attributed to Mark Twain, "Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it".

This quote truly captures the very essence and the beauty of forgiveness. I think that the blessing of forgiveness we receive is directly related to the wrong we have done. Only God could conceive and only His grace make it possible, that a bad event returns a good one...a hurt results in a comfort....a crushed flower giving off a wonderful fragrance.

"Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother"? The Jews of Jesus time had some very strong beliefs about this subject of forgiveness and how often one ought to forgive. It seems like the "magic number" was three. (Look at Amos chapters one and two). Peter, who had a bad habit of putting his foot in his mouth, had probably been around Jesus long enough to know that He wasn't about minimums. Just to make sure, he used a bigger number. "Up to seven times"? Before we get ready to slap Peter around, that is twice the prescribed amount....with one more thrown in. How Jesus answered we all know..."I do not say to you, up to seven times, but to seventy times seven".

Before we get out the calculators or try to remember our multiplication tables, we all know that Jesus wasn't advocating higher math...Higher than the three of the day, higher than Peter's seven, he went much higher. Jesus wants us to be more like God Himself! A true follower of Jesus, doesn't keep count of forgiveness---let alone all the way up to 490.

The model we are to follow is not one artificially created by men. It is a standard set by God whose own forgiveness is as limitless as the sands on a beach or the stars in the sky. Are we not glad that He offers more than 3, 6 or even 490? Can't we offer the same to others?

Have a wonderful day....Let you light shine for Him Love mark Phil. 4:11

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