My son made his, I don’t know, 5th appearance on the step the other day. No, this is not a new television show. It is where my kids go when they misbehave. As always, I want my kids to learn from there mishaps so when they get up I have them apologize to whomever they’ve wronged. They start with, “I am sorry for…, will you forgive me followed by a hug.”
My son is at the age where I really want him to think about his consequence so he can turn his behavior around. As he is on the step he asks if it is time to get up. So he says, “Mom can you forgive me.” My reply was, not to be unforgiving but so he would think a little deeper about his apology, “How many times do I have to forgive you for the same thing?” His reply, “Well, God said 70 times.”
Forgiveness can be a complex topic. There is also something very uncomplicated about it.
One reason I have my children apologize, even if sometimes it is out of habit, is someday they are going to have to repent to their Heavenly Father.
Having a faith in Christ and a relationship with Christ, begins with repentance. Recognizing that you are a sinner and without Him you are a dying soul and you are coming to Him because He alone can save you.
For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. Romans 3:23
I want my kids to know that they can come to me when they have done wrong. I want them to know that no matter the offense, to restore the hurt, there needs to be that I am sorry moment. I want my kids to know that because I am forgiven they too will be forgiven.
The verse my son was referring to was from Matthew 18. The story is from a parable that Jesus was teaching His disciples. Peter had asked Jesus in verse 21, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus replied in verse 22, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”
Often times, I catch myself saying to my kids (Have you ever said this line?), “How many times do I have to tell you?” I get this reply from the Holy Spirit, not an audible voice, but a very clear one, “How many times have I had to tell you?”
It doesn’t mean that my kids go without consequences, it means, I need to be merciful, it means I need to show them the same grace that was given to me.
If Heaven could shout down at me, God would have every right to say, “How many times have I told you and how many times do I need to forgive you for the same thing?”
When my Father sees me, Praise the Lord, He sees me through the cross, he sees me through Christ. He has time and time again showed me His mercy. He has time and time again showed me His grace.
In the parable in Matthew, Jesus was teaching of the Unforgiving Servant, the servant owed his lord more that he could ever repay. But when he bowed down before his master and asked for patience to repay the debt, his master showed him great mercy. He completely wiped his debt away.
The servant then went to a fellow servant and began choking him and demanding his debt be repaid immediately and since he could not, he had him thrown in jail. The master was not happy when he heard of this behavior. He had just forgiven him for a debt he could never pay and he couldn’t even forgive a fellow servant for a small debt.
We owe Christ a debt that we could never pay. There is no amount of money and not enough good deeds for us to do to get our broken relationship with Him restored.
We can only be saved, we can only be forgiven, through the grace of Jesus Christ. We can only be redeemed through the blood shed on the cross by the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.
Christ chose to give us that grace. He chose to give us the free gift of eternal life. To receive this gift we have to stand before our Heavenly Father. We have to acknowledge that we are sinners. We have to repent and ask forgiveness of our sins. We have to confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and that only He can save us.
Accepting this gift will free us from the bonds us our sin.That’s awesome! I don’t know about you but that it such sweet news to my lowly ears because I would never make it. I, like my son, have needed forgiven at least seventy times.
Christ’s amazing grace has set me free. My debt has been paid. Because of Him, I am able to show that same love, that same mercy, and extend his grace to my own children and to others.
Do you need forgiven today? Are you still waiting to make that decision to follow Christ? Wait no longer. The same arms that were stretched across the cross are waiting to receive you.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.