Write a Letter - Heal Your Soul!
How Many Times Should You Forgive Someone?
by Natacha Cann on February 16th, 2016

​How many times should you forgive someone? What’s the limit before you say: “I’ve had it!” Peter raised this very question in the bible and Jesus had a very interesting answer.
 
Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22).
 
If you calculate that, it’s 490 times. That’s a whole lot of forgiveness! But, was Jesus really putting a limit on forgiveness? No, Jesus was not limiting how many times we should forgive someone. By giving Peter an astronomical number, He was actually making a point about “no limits.”
​You see, God’s grace (and Jesus’s sacrifice) allows that we are forgiven for all of our sins, past, present and future. God’s grace and His forgiveness do not run out, there is no limit, and it is available to everyone. This is the same type of forgiveness Christians are expected to extend to others; we forgive because we are forgiven and we do this as many times as necessary.
 
Perhaps this is what Mason Cooley meant when he said, “Forgiveness is like faith. You have to keep reviving it.” Yes, you may in fact find yourself in situations where you have to “revive forgiveness” and forgive someone more than just once, either for the same offense, or a different offense. Having said that, I want to clarify that Jesus’ response does not mean we have to put ourselves in a position where we give others a blanket approval to continue to hurt, use, or abuse us over and over again.
 
For example, if you loan someone money and they purposely don’t repay you, you may forgive that person for their actions. You may even give the person a second chance and loan them money again. However, if they don’t repay you a second time, you may forgive, but choose not to continue loaning money because the person has proven themselves to be untrustworthy. That’s really a trust issue, not a forgiveness issue. You never have to put up with abuse “for the sake of forgiveness.”
 
Jesus’ point was not about how many times you can stand by and allow someone to continue hurting you and then forgive them. His point was simply that you don’t keep track of how many times you have to forgive and you certainly don’t put a limit on it. “Revive” forgiveness as much as possible!
 
Have you been in a position where you forgave someone multiple times? Or, have you ever refused to forgive someone more than once? Comment on this point and tell me about it.


Posted in forgiving, God's word, learn to forgive, role in forgiveness    Tagged with choose to forgive, difficult to forgive, forgiving others, God forgives


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