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Seventy Times Seven

Matthew 18: 21-35

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” (Matthew 18:21)

“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! (Matthew 18:22)

“Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. 24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 25 He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt. (Matthew 18:23)

“But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ (Matthew 18:26)

Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. (Matthew 18:27)

“But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. (Matthew 18:28)

“His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. (Matthew 18:29)

But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full. (Matthew 18:30)

“When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. (Matthew 18:31)

Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. (Matthew 18:32)

Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ (Matthew 18:33)

Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. (Matthew 18:34)

“That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.” (Matthew 18:35)

Title: 70 x 7

You have to be a forgiver if you’re going to live free.

When you forgive, you set someone free: you. When you forgive, you break chains, and their the chains that are on you.

  • We’re never more ‘God-like’ than when we forgive.
  • There’s nothing more beautiful than when we forgive.


Full House – coming back

  • “Fuller House” – Netflix
  • Pics

Wether it was:

  • Danny stealing Joey’s girlfriend
  • Stephanie reading D.J.’s diary.
  • Michelle accidentally scoring the winning soccer goal for the other team

What the show is MOSTLY about: forgiveness.


Which brings us to the real world

In a world of:

  • ISIS
  • Murder
  • Divorce
  • Rape
  • Charleston Church Shooting
  • hashtag-blacklivesmatter
  • hashtag-Policelivesmatter
  • Bill Cosby

You can see: it stops being the obvious choice, and becomes a pretty major deliemma for the serious christian.

The question is this:

  • How does forgiveness work in the real world?
  • Is forgiveness just a nice idea that exists in the church? Or does forgiveness work in the horrific reality of the real world?
  • Is forgiveness always possible?
  • How far should we take it?
  • Are there extreme situations where forgiveness is not the right thing? Enable – destructive behavior?
  • Are the some injustices that are so horrible that to forgive would also be an injustice?

Jesus spoke about forgiveness A LOT

But for some reason, I think people put Jesus in a similar category as Full House. And by that I mean ‘Yeah that’s cool and all, but doesn’t apply to the REAL WORLD.’ But Jesus lived in the real world.

Peter ‘How many times do I forgive someone who sins against me? 7 times?”


“Try 70 x 7.” Some translations: 77 times

Not the only time this comes up. Jesus is doing something on purpose.

The phrase 70 x 7 didn’t originally refer to forgiveness, it was from a song of vengeance.

“Lamech’s (ley-mik) Song of the Sword”

Genesis – right after cains murder and exile.

Cain – decendants – Lamech – WARRIOR :

I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy times seven. ” (Genesis 4:23-24)

We have almost NO background here. We don’t know what the guy did or anything.

But we know it’s about brutal vengance.

  • Normal.
  • Cain style – 7 times
  • Lamech style – 70 times 7.

But Jesus comes in with a new song. He replaces the song of Lamech with the song of the lamb.

Instead of being people of vengeance, we’ve become people of forgiveness.

No matter how many times we’re wronged.

Another place, Jesus says ‘if your brother sins against you 7 times IN ONE DAY, forgive them.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Ghandi

Forgiveness is the center of the Christian faith.

If the Christian faith isn’t about forgiveness, it’s not about anything.

“We are members of a kingdom governed by the politics of forgiveness and redemption.” OLDEST (Stanley Hauerwas)


Lords prayer

Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

On the cross

Father forgive them, they know not what they do.

If I had to choose one moment as the center of the christian faith, it would be this moment.

On evening of resurrection

If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Apostles creed

I believe in the forgiveness of sins.

A quick word on forgiveness and abuse

  1. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting.
  2. Forgiveness does not mean staying.
  3. Forgiveness does not mean being silent.

Nelson mandela walked out of prison vowing to forgive, but he never stopped speaking of injustice.

Christian forgiveness does not call us to forgot, or stay, or be silent, it calls us to stop the cycle of revenge.

“We’re gonna change the world!”


It’s just youth rally rhetoric.

Really what they mean, is they’re gonna get pumped up to go out in the world and convince people to trust in Jesus for the afterlife.

No matter how important that is or isn’t, it doesn’t change the world. Might change the afterlife a little, but it doesn’t change the world.

But the world is changeable.

Sep 11, 2001.

Changed the world.

How? – 19 men – armed w/box cutters, filled with hate, changed the world.

Became the defining moment of our generation.

Seems like “change” – Echos – Cain.

Forgiveness changes the world.

Breaks the cycle.

Challenge: Talk – non-christian – friend.

Talking to a non-christian vs Christian friend and ask ‘What did Jesus teach? And then watch the second hand on your watch. Within 30 seconds, they will probably mention something about loving your enemies. And then go ask a Christian the same question, and you won’t need the second hand on your watch, you’ll need a sun dial. Prosperity, holiness, the end times, and if they ever get around to loving their enemies.

Second hand on watch vs. calendar.

The non-Christian here is correct.

Forgiveness is the great distinction of Jesus Christ.

It’s hard.

And it’s easy to point it out when you’re saying that other people should do it. It’s harder to say we should.

  • Do you believe that love is greater than hate?
  • Faith greater than fear?
  • Good is greater than evil?


In OUR world.

Where our odds of getting killed by a terrorist is astronomical.

You’re more likely to be fatally crushed by furniture than killed by a terrorist.

We DO face:

  • Backstabbers
  • Friends/Christians betrayed you
  • Ex-Husbands/Wives

If you’re serious about being a Christian, you have to learn the art of forgiveness.



Forgiveness is simple. Not easy. Simple. Real Practical

Forgiveness comes in 2 phases.

1. The choice of forgiving.

This is where you make the choice. It’s like a when you decide to lose weight. You haven’t lost any.

2. The process of forgiving.


It’s like cancelling a debt.

Comes through prayer.

Comes from constantly putting in your mind – you were forgiven, so you forgive.

Forgiveness is about believing that the cross of Jesus Christ is sufficient payment. Not only for everything you’ve done, but also for everything that’s been done to you.

It’s comes through constantly reminding yourself that love is the greatest power of all.

When all is said and done, the only thing that will matter is how you chose to play the hand you were dealt. Nothing else matters.

David Meyers story – HHGT When David Meyers told the story about him being really mad at his dad. His dad had some mental health issues and so there was portions of David’s life where he was absent for a long period of time and David told the story of him resenting it. But as soon as he got word that his dad was sick and was going to die, none of it mattered anymore.

“Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past.” (Anne Lamott)


No greater example of forgiveness than The cross

Jesus: Spit on me, kill me, I’ll die praying for your forgiveness.

Rises again, still acting in forgiveness. In ancient world – God who we kill and he rises from the dead, he’s seeking vengeance on the ones who killed him.

The cross says we can do our worst to God and he will still return loving us.

It’s called Grace.

Not worried – judgement day – maybe pass test.

Judgement – been passed – Righteous. Now.

Beautiful idea – rebirth. — Fresh start.

Not bound by who you were.

So we come. Forgiven forgivers.

As they pass

Is there hostility in me?

In what ways am I waiting to be “paid back”?


(Apostles Creed) And confess the creed that the church has been confessing for nearly 2000 years.

Pray – Jesus we believe that you show us who God is and who we’re called to be.

And as we bless this bread and this cup, we believe that you’re forming us into people who honor you. With our lives and in our forgiveness of others.

We receive your forgiveness, and we vow to forgive.

Forgiven forgivers. And we say that we believe in you. And we trust you with our whole lives. And we thank you.

We remember your death,
We proclaim your resurrection,
We await your return.

Let’s eat the bread and drink from the cup.