Our Lord and Savior expects forgiveness to be constant, not occasional. In Matthew 18:21–22, Peter came to Jesus with a faulty view of employing forgiveness. He suggested merely “seven” acts of forgiveness as the maximum of mercy to be extended. Before criticizing his “smallness of heart,” consider that the practice in today’s church may be more narrow. Jesus corrects Peter’s shallow grasp of forgiveness and commands a constant, not occasional, mercy, with a statistically strong metaphor, “I do not say to you seven times….” Perhaps Peter momentarily presumed Jesus considered him a generous and gracious follower of the Master, having …
Rev. Joseph Novenson is senior pastor of Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church in Lookout Mountain, Tenn.