The Jewish rabbis taught that people should forgive those who offended them-but only three times. In today’s gospel reading, (Matthew 18:21-35)
Peter, trying to be especially generous, asked Jesus if seven (the perfect number) was enough times to forgive someone. But Jesus answered, “seventy seven times,” meaning that we shouldn’t even keep track of how many times we forgive someone. We should go on forgiving those who are truly repentant: easy to say, but harder to put into practice, especially when wounds are deep.
God forgives our sins. If we want to lay hold of that forgiveness, we cannot
withhold forgiveness from others. Realizing how God has forgiven us should
produce a free and generous attitude of forgiveness toward others. When we
don’t forgive others, we are setting ourselves outside and above Christ’s
law of love.