Over and Over Again
God's forgiveness and our forgiving others
A large assortment of pencils with the erasers all worn off
Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven." Matthew 18:21-22 (NASB)
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Just look at all of these pencils! There are short pencils, long pencils, skinny pencils, and fat pencils. There are yellow, red, black, and white pencils. There are many different shapes, sizes, and colors of pencils but there is one thing that all of these pencils have in common. The eraser is worn off of every one of them. Do you know what that tells me? It tells me that I make a lot of mistakes. When I make a mistake, I erase it and start over, and over again, until I get it right! I don't know why I keep these pencils, because as many mistakes as I make, a pencil without an eraser is pretty useless.
These pencils remind me of people. People come in all different sizes, shapes, and colors too, but we all have one thing in common, we all make mistakes! We make a lot of mistakes. That is why God sent Jesus to die on the cross -- to erase our mistakes. When we do something wrong, we can ask God to forgive us and because of Jesus, He will erase our mistakes and we can start over again, and again, and again. Unlike these pencils, God's eraser never wears out!
Just as God forgives us over and over again. Jesus taught us that we should forgive other people over and over again.
One day, Peter asked Jesus, "How many times should I forgive someone who sins against me? Should I forgive him seven times?" I imagine that Peter was pretty proud of himself for being willing to forgive someone seven times.
Jesus answered, "Not seven times, but seventy times seven times!"
I think Jesus knew that if he said we should forgive seventy times seven times, we would never be able to keep count and we would forgive over, and over again, just as he forgives us.
It doesn't matter if we are short or tall, skinny or fat, red, white, yellow, or black, we all need God's forgiveness. We also need to remember that Jesus taught that we are to forgive others just as God forgives us.
Dear Father, we all sin and fall short. Thank you for sending Jesus to forgive us of our sins. Help us to forgive others the same way — over, and over again. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.