How many times should we forgive?
In tomorrow's Gospel reading, we read the following exchange,
Peter came and said to Jesus, "Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.Then there is the parable Jesus tells of a man who owes 10,000 talents to his master. This is a phenomenal number as a talent is the largest monetary unit and was equal to the wages of a manual laborer for fifteen years. The annual tax income for all of Herod the Great's territories was 900 talents per year. So the debt is one beyond measure. Yet, all is forgiven. Then the servant who was forgiven is merciless with someone who owes him 100 days wages.
One idea about how to view this passage is to understand that Jesus is amplifying the point he makes elsewhere that we who have been forgiven by God are to also forgive others as generously as God has dealt with us. Then instead of asking, "How many times should one forgive?" We should begin by asking God the question. "God, how many times are you willing to forgive me?"
Jesus' parable suggests that God would forgive again and again to an amount greater than the national debt for those who truly turn their lives around and want to be forgiven.
A couple of items in the King of Peace archives are the religion column
and another called
How much sin is too much too forgive?
and the sermon
Create in me a clean heart