seventy times seven

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?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.”

Certainly if Peter was thinking that 7 times would be more than required he is shocked by Jesus’ reply of 490!

Although it may be possible for someone to sin against me more that 490 times in a day, it is highly unlikely, therefore perhaps Jesus used an unrealistically large number to convey that I should forgive as many times as I’m sinned against.

My calling as a Christian is to be like Christ; would Jesus ask me to do something that he would not?  Since Jesus is God, is God not willing to forgive me at least 490 times a day?1

Perhaps Jesus said 70×7 because I’m so unaware of my sins that 490 more accurately represents my true condition.2

Perhaps Jesus used 70×7 to give me a clue how His sacrifice will far outweigh the sin of mankind.3

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.  

How is this parable like the kingdom of heaven?

The comparison in this parable doesn’t draw lines between the life we live in the flesh and the afterlife in that they are all within the kingdom.  Am I not living in the kingdom of God right now?  Does not the kingdom of God reign within a believer?4  5  6

As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.

Assuming the man began to accrue debt from birth, if the man is 40 years old at the time of the story, he has lived 14,600 days and accrued over $1.2 Million of debt per day totaling nearly $18.8 Billion!!

Since he was not able to pay, his lord ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

Considering a wage of $15 per hour, 18 hours a day for 365 days that’s $98,550 per year. With a family of 10 working and an average life span of 50 years it will take a minimum of 380 generations to pay back the debt without any added interest!

“The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Lord, be patient with me,’ he begged,

“Be patient with me” Love is patient, is he asking to be loved?7

‘and I will pay back everything.’

Some how the servant seems to think it possible that he can repay such a great debt.  Clearly this isn’t a rich man or he would not have needed to borrow.  Certainly this man’s poverty is greater than ever with such a debt hanging over him however, he is unaware of the magnitude and trivializes it; there is absolutely no way he can pay back such a huge debt.

Even if he could pay the King $20 for every one of the 86,400 seconds in the day it would take over 40 years!!

As a sinner, it is a lie of the enemy that somehow I can make good on my debt.  Is it possible that even the smallest expression of such a belief is offensive to God?  Does not my offer to pay totally deny the completed work of the cross?8  9  10

The importance of embracing the fact that I can never repay my debt is so great that Jesus himself personally debunks the lie!11

Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, set him free and forgave the debt.

The Lord’s generosity turned the loss into an investment into the life of the servant. Forgiving a debt means that the lender agrees to carry the load of the loss. Is that not what the Lord Jesus did for sinners – for me?

Since God is love,12  13 will he not express all the attributes of love,  not singling out patience.14 Do I not see evidence of the fullness of love expressed here by compassion through the forgiveness of the debt?

“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow-servants who owed him a hundred pence.

Considering the rate which the servant accrued debt ($20/second) for 40 years his fellow-servant only owed him 11 seconds!  ($220)15

He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.  

It appears that the servant may still believe he’s under a debt; perhaps he believes that by collecting all that is owed him he can make a payment.  The evidence indicates that the servant didn’t accept the cancellation of his debt.  Could it be said that he didn’t forgive himself?

Once forgiven, the only debt that remains is to love!16  Once the servant’s debt was forgiven he owed nothing except the debt to love (forgive others debt).

“His fellow-servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’

“Have patience with me” Love is patient; is his fellow-servant not requesting that he love him with the same love that was shown to him?17  18

 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.  

Although this man physically walks in the freedom of forgiveness the seeds of love have not taken root in his heart, there is no good fruit, the overflow of his heart is of one who remains in bondage.19  20

When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. 

Even the world sees the injustice.  As a Christian, having received such a gift, should I not be among the most generous people in the world?  The fellow-servants are greatly distressed. The world has an expectancy for the things of God.21

Quote: “If you squeezed an orange and got apple juice wouldn’t that be weird? How come when you squeeze a Christian you get everything but Christ?” -Dan Mohler

“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.  

The Lord’s investment yielded no fruit in the life of this man.22

Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow-servant just as I had on you?’  

The seeds of forgiveness were sown, but yielded no crop!23

“God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.”24  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.25  “We love because He first loved us.”26

In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

Does unforgiveness usher me into the presence of the tormentor and subject me to his rule to extract payment for a debt that I can never satisfy?  Doesn’t DESPAIR, DISCOURAGEMENT, and HOPELESSNESS await all who go there?

Is unforgiveness the root of depression?27 If I am not forgiven what hope do I have?28

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

If forgiveness is going to come from my heart, my heart must first be filled with forgiveness.29  30  For me to receive forgiveness in my heart, I must be aware of my need for forgiveness.31  32  Perhaps, the greater the awareness of my sin, the more forgiveness I can receive.33

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A man, husband and father, struggling to be a blessing in the lives of others.

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