Day One – Generous mercy

Today’s Scripture: Matthew 18:15-17, 21-35; Amos 2:6; 1 Corinthians 13:4-6

Forgiveness can be a hot topic, can’t it? For years, people have debated the “forgive but don’t forget” assertion. Some individuals feel obligated to keep exact records of people’s sins. Others claim leniency should be shown only when the offender admits his wrongdoing. No apology—no mercy. I think God sometimes shakes His head at our human logic. Scripture is quite clear—and liberally so—what our responsibility is when it comes to showing mercy and offering forgiveness.

Peter’s question—Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother? Up to seven times?—was asked in response to Jesus’ instructions to His disciples about their relationship with others, including humility, responsibility, and forgiveness. Inspired, Peter assumed he was showing tremendous generosity, since Jews were obligated to forgive up to three times (see Amos 2:6). Seven times was more than double the obligation.

Unimpressed by Peter’s display of big-heartedness, Jesus responded, “Seventy-seven times (or seventy times seven).” In other words, don’t count. Just offer blanket forgiveness no matter how many times a person sins against you.

Is forgiveness a mark of weakness? No. It’s a sign of love. Paul exhorted, “. . . [love] keeps no record of wrongs.” People with short memories are long in love and generous in mercy.

Let’s spend this week dissecting the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 18 as we mine for key insights that will transform the very way we think. Don’t be shocked if you discover that forgiveness should become a continual attitude, not a periodic action.

  • How many times would you be willing to forgive an offender?
  • What records do you keep of others’ wrong-doings toward you?