I have been thinking again of seventy times seven in Matthew 18. As you know, that is how many times we are told to forgive the brother who sins against us - though I do not think the Lord was actually putting a limit here on the number of times we should forgive someone. I have to say that I cannot remember a particular brother ever sinning against me that many times though there will be others who have been treated dreadfully who might say that they can. Nevertheless, there have been times when I feel that someone has sinned against me and I have needed to forgive - and I know that people have needed to forgive me and it has been necessary for me to apologize.
One of the problems is that the act of forgiveness does not wipe the sin event from human memory. Even though God remembers sins no more it is not so easy for us to forget them. Therefore, even though I might have forgiven a person for the sin committed against me it may come back to mind again and again. I think that the "seventy times seven" principle can apply in such a case and forgiveness becomes a process. When the memory of it rises up in our mind again we affirm our forgiveness of it, and when it comes to mind yet again we affirm our forgiveness yet again and we begin to walk in a spirit of forgiveness. In time, the repeated act of affirming forgiveness wears down the hurt of it until the sin which was committed comes to mind less frequently. It may take many such repeats of forgiveness affirmation when the sin committed is associated with acutely painful memories. When it is finally worn down, it does not carry quite the hurt which was originally associated with it.
Posted by : Mike on 27-10-2014