How Many?!

Last weeks lectionary Gospel reading was about finding fault with people, and what you do about it.

This week’sis about moving on from that, and finding a way to live in forgiveness and reconciliation.

Peter wants to know what the limits of forgiveness are.  If someone keeps doing something wrong to him, how many times should he forgive them?  Seven seems a very generous offer for someone who keeps doing the same thing and isn’t learning, doesn’t it?

Not so, says Jesus – seventy-seven is more like it!

I’m sure Jesus doesn’t mean to prescribe a fixed number of times forgiveness should be offered, what he’s trying to get across is that it’s a number higher than you could easily keep count of – it should be limitless.

Jesus doesn’t want us to be mean with our forgiving, but generous.


Well, as the story he goes on to tell about the forgiven, yet unforgiving servant shows, God has for forgiven us so much – perhaps we should be showing that same level of forgiveness to those we feel have wronged us.

Wow!  That is a tall order.  Even to someone who keeps repeating their wrongs, we are called to go on forgiving…

But God has cancelled all I owe him for the wrongs I have done – surely I owe the same to others?

By Rebecca Kennison (Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC-BY-2.5 ( , via Wikimedia Commons”]

Thank you Lord

for the forgiveness you offer to me,

for the love that keeps on loving,

picks me up, dusts me off,

and sets me straight again.


I pray,

that I may have that same love and forgiveness for others,

that I will give them another chance,

and another…

as you give to me.

Give me that love and strength

I pray,

that your forgiveness

may be seen,

and known.

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