SCRIPTURE: Matthew 18:21-22 (TM)
At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, "Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?" Jesus replied, "Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.
In the 14th century, Robert Bruce of Scotland was leading his men in a battle to gain independence from England. Near the end of the conflict, the English wanted to capture Bruce to keep him from the Scottish crown. So they put his own bloodhounds on his trail. When the bloodhounds got close, Bruce could hear their baying. His attendant said, "We are done for. They are on your trail, and they will reveal your hiding place." Bruce replied, "It's all right." Then he headed for a stream that flowed through the forest. He plunged in and waded upstream a short distance. When he came out on the other bank, he was in the depths of the forest. Within minutes, the hounds, tracing their master's steps, came to the bank. They went no farther. The English soldiers urged them on, but the trail was broken. The stream had carried the scent away. A short time later, the crown of Scotland rested on the head of Robert Bruce.
Jesus’ words haunt us in the night… seventy times seven. They stand as a challenge both emotionally and mentally… seventy times seven. Here is a spiritual formula for spiritual health… seventy times seven. Each of us has at least one situation in our lives that causes us pause. There is someone who we need to forgive and are struggling to bring ourselves to at least entertain the thought of offering that forgiveness. It is hard.
Let me take a little liberty with the Robert Bruce story. Consider the hounds as an image of Satan who is hot on our trail. Consider our scent as the injury, hurt, and pain inflicted on us by someone else (the issue for which forgiveness is required) we harbor in our hearts. Consider the stream as the blood of Christ. The pursuit won’t end until the scent is gone. The scent won’t be gone until we get in the stream, but to get in the stream we have to forgive.
The difficulty, at least for me, is not the forgiveness from God – that is a reality! The difficulty is extending forgiveness to an individual which is especially hard since he/she doesn’t believe that they did anything wrong… they were simply doing their job. But the crown of glory won’t easily rest upon our heads until the forgiveness is realized.
So there we are wanting to move on but held by our hurt and injury. Seventy times seven… really? And the struggle continues…
We are in a pickle Lord and boy, do we need your help.