How many times has my husband forgiven me in our ten years of marriage?
Let’s make a conservative estimate of seven times per day, which probably includes the many little things that annoy him and the big things that we fight about. It equals about 17, 885 times my husband has extended forgiveness to me in our marriage, which is a much greater number than seventy-seven! And that’s probably a conservative estimate, as I’m prone to talking to much and thinking of myself before anyone else at an alarming rate.
It really makes you wonder how many times in our lives we’ve been forgiven by those closest to us? Our parents have definitely forgiven us far more times than seventy times seven. Our children in their innocence and generosity are fountains of forgiveness for all the mistakes we make. Our friends and family who have been with us through thick and thin have forgiven and not counted the cost.
In today’s Gospel Christ is telling us not only that forgiveness is a way of growing in holiness but that forgiveness is the way to relationship. It is indeed what makes us like our heavenly Father, and what makes real relationship possible. Without the forgiveness we receive from God we would be incapable of having a relationship with Him and so too with all other relationships. Without forgiveness how can we grow closer to anyone? How can we develop an intimate relationship with another person? How could it be possible for marriage to have a sacramental, life-long bond between two different people?
Only in forgiveness can we fully develop real, human relationship, and it will take forgiving someone many more than seventy-seven times. But when we consider the many instances when we have been forgiven by those who love us forgiveness should come quickly to our hearts.
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Let’s make the conscious choice to forgive the small grievances in our day today. We know we have been forgiven much, not only by our Heavenly Father but by all those who love us. Help us to grow in love and forgiveness, Lord Jesus.
Christy Isinger is the mom to five lovely, loud children living in the Canadian wilds. You can find out more about her here.