Skip to main content

Forgive- Any upper limit? To what extend?

A group of Christian missionaries met in Delhi, India, with representatives of other religions to discuss their beliefs. In the course of their talks a member of a major non-Christian religion said to a missionary, "Tell me one thing your religion can offer the Indians that mine can't." The missionary thought for a moment and replied, "Forgiveness! Forgiveness!"

Forgiveness is an important teaching of the Bible. Jesus in his teaching stressed the need of forgiveness very much. During the sermon on mount, Jesus taught about forgiveness. At one point of time Peter came to Jesus and asked an important question. Peter wanted to have a numerical number as to how many times he should forgive someone. Peter also had a suggestion for Jesus. Is it seven times? You can find this in Matthew 18:21-35. I guess that since Jesus stressed on forgiveness many times during his teaching and since forgiving someone is not an easy thing, Peter wanted to know the upper limit. How many times? Till what extend should I tolerate. Till what point should I wait before I give up? Rabbis taught that people should forgive those who offend them three times. Peter was trying to be more generous and suggested the perfect number seven.

Jesus gave an interesting answer and continued with the parable of unforgiving debtor. Jesus said seventy times seven. It means four hundred and ninety (490) times. It’s not easy to count or keep tract of 490 times. Jesus was meaning that we shouldn’t even keep track of how many times we forgive. To say that I forgive is easy but to forget, it’s very difficult. That’s why we keep history and remember exactly the number of times someone has offended us. One story which I read recently was interesting and it clearly exposes our problem.

Eunice, a former missionary to Liberia, told a story about forgiveness. An African man worked for her, and one day she caught him stealing clothes from her house. "Please forgive me," he pleaded. “I did wrong. I promise not to do it again." She forgave him and allowed him to continue working for her. But less than a month passed before she caught him stealing again, "Look at you!" she said. "You've stolen again!" The bright fellow stared at her and yelled back, "What kind of a Christian are you?" Eunice, dumbfounded, had no idea how to respond. "If you forgave me, you do not remember it." the man said. "If you did not remember it, such a thing did not happen."

How true it is. I have seen people bring all the old historical events and problems when they discuss some issues. They have already asked forgiveness and said that they have forgiven. But our human nature tends to keep old things and its shows lack of genuine forgiveness from our side. Now in the parable, this man couldn’t forgive his servant who owed him much less compared to what he had to pay to the king. In the end the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. Jesus concludes the subject by saying that “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”(Matthew 18:35) It’s a strong warning for us. It’s very important that we forgive people from our heart. It’s also important that we forget what we have forgiven. It’s difficult. At least make a conscious effort not to speak about or argue about the matters you have already forgiven. Don’t dwell on the issues you have already forgiven. Just imagine if God brings back all our sins and put it in front of us every time we ask him forgiveness. We were sinners and we are saved by the grace of God and when we asked forgiveness he accepted us and forgave all our sins. Remember that our king has cancelled all the big debts when we asked him. Can’t we forgive the small things which other people may do against us? Let’s be genuine disciples and develop the habit of forgiving and forgetting.

Augustine once said - "if you are suffering from a bad man's injustice, forgive him lest there be two bad men.
1 comment

Popular posts from this blog

They do not Compromise

"They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths." Psalms 119:3 (NLT)

We are living in times when compromise has almost become the rule of life. But its not always called as compromise. Sometimes compromise is shielded under words like tolerance, patience, endurance, love for each other, respect for one another etc. Have you ever thought about it. Most of the time we compromise something or other in our life. There are times when you don't have any other way but to compromise.

But today I want to divert your attention towards things your compromise in your spiritual life. Compromise is a slow poison that ultimately destroys respect for truth. What does that mean? You start with small and end up compromising on big things. This is very much true with our beliefs and convictions about truth and doctrine. First thing we must check in our life that how strong we are in our beliefs and convictions. It will have a direct impact on the fact that how easily we co…

Increase in Wickedness - Love will grow cold

We are living in a time when wickedness has become a sort of style or fashion of the day. If we notice the news and keep track of the things happening all around us then we know that with each day wickedness is not only increasing but getting popular and accepted. What was in the list of wickedness few years ago is no longer there and has become accepted things. Its true with Christians also. Many things which are forbidden in the word of God is slowly creeping in and is becoming part of normal life. Tolerance is a good things but sometimes it can become dangerous in the sense that slowly it can make us cold. Last days I was meditating on a verse. Let me share it with you. Mathew 24:10-13:-

"At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."
In these verses when J…

Moral Purity in a Corrupt World

We are living in the information age. People have so many ways to get connected to each other. With the wide spread use of Internet came the popularity of services like email, chat, social networking etc. In many cases, privacy of people is compromised as most of the information about a person can be found out with the click of a button. Sometime ago I was reading an article in a leading Journal as how people check social networking sites to find information about a boy or girl when some marriage proposals come. The downside of all this is that people have access to so much information and materials again at just the click of a button. Most of the things we get at the click of a biutton though is not beneficial. Many times it can becomes dangerous.

A common issue expressed by many young people is their addiction to Internet and especially to the filth which is available free of cost. It's free of cost at times but people forget that they are paying a heavy price in regard to destr…