If there was a certain number of times God would forgive us…what would it be? One thousand? Many of us would reach that limit before the end of the week. What about 1.1 million times…would that last a lifetime?
Peter asked Jesus a similar question about the number of times we should forgive others. He may have thought it was generous to forgive someone seven times, but Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:22).
Jesus told the parable of the servant who owed his master such an excessive amount of money that his entire family and assets would be sold to pay the debt. The servant begged for mercy and it was granted to him. However, the same servant wouldn’t forgive an incredibly much smaller debt from a fellow servant and had him thrown in jail. When the master heard of this, he had the wicked servant imprisoned and tortured until he repaid the debt. Jesus ended with “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:35).
There’s a direct correlation with how we forgive others and we will be forgiven by God. Haven’t we all been offended by someone, forgave them, and had to forgive again? Yet God forgives us more abundantly than we have forgiven those who offended us.
How does God forgive
without keeping count?
God forgives completely
“He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14).
Jesus’ last words on the cross before He gave up His spirit were “It is finished”. By His blood and sacrifice, we’re completely forgiven by God of our sins. There isn’t a partial forgiveness through Christ, but a thorough cleansing from our past, present, and future sins.
Question: Do you forgive others completely or still hold a grudge?
God forgives compassionately
“You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19).
The Lord knows our frame—that we are dust and prone to sin. He gives us compassion as a good Father in heaven who loves His children deeply. We have His parental leadership and guidance to lead us into repentance.
Question: Does your forgiveness bear the essence of compassion or anger?
God forgives generously
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
God’s forgiveness is more than enough. He not only forgives our sins, but He cleanses us from the sinful acts we committed. The Lord does abundantly more than we can ask or think in forgiving us.
Question: Do you generously forgive others or hold back a little just in case?
God forgives mercifully
The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him” (Daniel 9:9).
Our sinful actions are always acts of rebellion against God. The Lord graciously gives mercy to the most undeserving of people—you and me! This mercy isn’t because we deserve it, but rather it’s His desire for us to be free of the entanglements of sin.
Question: Do you forgive mercifully or judgmentally?
God forgives lovingly
“You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you” (Psalm 86:5).
We can’t measure the love that God has for us because it’s beyond measurement and unconditional towards all people. When we humble ourselves before God, the Holy Spirit gives us assurance of His love and acceptance. His love gives us confidence to move forward in an attitude of forgiveness.
Question: Do you forgive with love or resentment?
God forgives infinitely
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12)
Just as infinitely the east will never meet the west, we are comforted that the Lord’s forgiveness is continuous throughout our earthly lives and into eternity. This isn’t a pass for us to sin as much as we want. It’s an opportunity for us to live holy lives in a spirit of gratefulness to God.
Question: Do you forgive with a continuity of grace or limited boundaries?
God forgives sacrificially
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7).
The forgiveness we receive from God came at a great price—the crucifixion of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. He forgives completely, compassionately, generously, mercifully, lovingly, and infinitely because of the sacrifice at Calvary.
Question: Does your forgiveness cost you something or nothing at all?
God forgives me…I forgive you
The number of times that you are forgiven by God has no comparison to the joy of being forgiven when you ask with sincerity and humility. Your willingness to forgive others in the same manner will bring great peace to your life. The Father in Heaven won’t necessarily take away the consequences of your sin, but he will surely remove the punishment through the blood of Jesus. Forgive and be forgiven.
Here is another article about forgiveness:
Resources – New International Version Bible, The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblca, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. YouTube video “Take You Back” by Jeremy Camp