Then Peter came up and said to him [Jesus], “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say seven times, but seventy times seven.” Matt. 18:21-22
Dear Lord Jesus, I’m sure I’ve read this story at least seventy-seven times since the day you rescued me from the dominion of darkness and planted me in your kingdom of grace. But I need to keep on reading it, because forgiveness is as daily as breathing, eating, and sleeping.
I know I sin against you—in thought, word, and deed—every hour of every day. And I also know that you’ve already forgiven all of my sins—the tiny percentage I’m aware of and the vast majority of which I have no idea. Such is the wonder of the gospel.
When I confess my sins and ask your forgiveness, I don’t get more or new forgiveness. I humble myself and appropriate the forgiveness that you’ve already given me. Lord Jesus, you’re not informed by my confession of sin. You know it’s a lot worse than I realize. You also know that your grace and forgiveness are far more abounding and thorough than I realize.
Where can greater riches be found? That’s the most rhetorical question I could ever ask. Nothing compares with the treasures we’ve receive in the gospel. I confess how much I take your forgiveness for granted. I recognize this because of my struggle to forgive others as I’ve been forgiven. There are a few “seventy-times-seven” forgiveness scenarios which are gnawing away at my peace and nibbling on my joy like tiny piranha. I want to be free, Jesus. I want to forgive to your glory. I want to be free.
In short, Jesus, I need fresh grace today. Life is just too short for nursing grudges, dodging people, cataloging wrongs and trying to justify my self-righteousness. Here’s my cry: Come, Holy Spirit, come; apply the power of the gospel to my heart today—beginning this very moment. Humble me, gentle me, settle me, focus me, free me. Love in me and through me, for the glory of God. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ perfectly holy and forgiving name.