Exponential Forgiveness

Around the time eight track tapes and Lite Brite toys hit the shelves, my third grade Sunday School teacher taught a lesson about Peter asking Jesus how many times a person should forgive someone.

“Seven times?” Peter asked.

“Seventy times seven,” replied Jesus.

Wow, I thought–that’s four hundred ninety times! My young mind took Jesus’ words literally and I spent many nights kneeling by my bed saying, “Lord forgive me. Lord forgive me. Lord forgive me.” I counted as I prayed and cried and didn’t stop until I reached the required number. Yup, four hundred ninety times. I felt better after paying (and praying) my penance. That is, until I messed up again and had to recite my repentant prayer.

Many years have passed since I knelt and counted my “Lord forgive me” sentences. I’m still learning to forgive to the limitless extent Jesus talked about. I ask Him daily to forgive me. Consequently, I’ve discovered there’s more to conviction than saying, “I’m sorry.” The evidence of genuine repentance is true change. Change is what Jesus and others see. I hope my actions speak.

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