Seven Times Seventy!

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.”  Matthew 18:21-35 (NAB)
The beginning of today’s Gospel has reverberated throughout history.  I would venture to guess that most people are familiar with this scripture even if they’re not Christian.
Peter was probably shocked at Jesus’ answer as our most of us.  Forgiveness is a tricky business whether you’ve been “slighted” or grieviously sinned against.  I’m learning though that forgiveness has little to do with the one who has hurt me, but more about me, my ongoing reaction to the offense and my soul.
My recent experience at a Lenten Mission talk given by Dr. Jerry Galipeau opened up a whole new way of thinking for me.  If God forgives and loves me (which I truly believe he does), why wouldn’t he extend that love and forgiveness to anyone who may have hurt me?  My initial reaction to that was, “Oh, I don’t think so!”
We want the people who have hurt us to be punished and perhaps they will be.  That’s God’s business, not ours.  I have been angry enough in the past to shake my fist at the heavens and demand that God dole out that punishment only to be struck by a real sense of shame.
Seeing someone in God’s eyes is difficult, but doing so, has released me from a stronghold of anger and bitterness.  I have taken a step back and see things a little differently and by doing that, my heart has opened and my soul is not weighed down.  
It is an amazing view!

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