Another Take on 70 x 7 | Columnist Forum
Forgiving, in theory, is not overly complicated. Forgiving in practice is not overly simplistic.
It seems the Old Testament encouraged the practice of forgiving someone up to three times or maybe four. Fast forward to the New Testament, and Peter, remembering Jesus teaching the principle of the second mile, attempts (in my mind) to impress the Lord.
Instead of asking if he should forgive three or four times, Peter brashly throws out the number seven. Jesus responds, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22).
Many of us imagine forgiving 490 separate offenses. Some have kept a journal until they got to 490. I think we can safely say that Jesus wants us to forgive as many times as it takes. After all, He is our example, and He has forgiven us many times more than 490. We are to do the same for others.
Here is the other take on 70 x 7.
Although God created man in His image, He did not create man as His equal. God can forgive an offense one time, and the memory is gone. Forgotten. Man can forgive an offense one time, and it may or may not be gone. It certainly will not be forgotten. We may lose our ability to recall, but our minds that God created cannot forget. The mind records and remembers everything.
The greater the severity of the offense, the greater the likelihood of us recalling the transgression regularly long after we forgave the person responsible for the violation. Each time we remember the offense (which is normal and does not mean we have not forgiven), we can retake ownership of the offense. The result is we renege on the original forgiveness given.
I propose to you that sometimes we have to forgive 70 x 7 and more for the same single offense. When the memory surfaces, refuse to dwell on the memory and forgive again. And again. Forever. Others will benefit but you will be the greatest beneficiary of this practice.
Happy New Year!