In the eighteenth chapter of Matthew we find the disciples asking Jesus how many times we should forgive someone who offends us.
“Should we forgive them seven times?”
Jesus replied, “Not seven times but rather forgive them seventy times seven!”
In today’s social media dominated society, trolls are QUICK to criticise at the drop of a hat. Then everyone else seems to pile on like football players going after a fumbled ball. It can be downright brutal, right?
We saw that happen to Kevin Hart recently when he was selected to host the Oscars. Someone dug into his historical tweets and found homophobic remarks that were at least ten years old. At first he didn’t want to apologize again saying he had said he was sorry many times in the past over those remarks and thought it unnecessary to issue still another apology.
The trolls persisted and even doubled down mounting a campaign against him that resulted in his issuing a fresh apology and withdrawing his name from the project.
Why are so many so quick to get judgmental and leave absolutely no room for an individual to have maybe already learned a lesson from prior episodes? It is as if an apology only has a shelf life of seven days and then you are guilty all over again.
Even though that seems to be increasingly the norm today there is another attitude that is even MORE universally accepted and in use.
Why is it that human nature has no trouble at all forgiving ourselves seventy times seven? Because no one wants to feel guilty over our actions. We will quickly rationalise our actions and explain to ourselves that it really wasn’t so bad to do what we did, because well… because.
Not only will our lame excuses be forgiven (by us!) they will be believed to be acceptable. We have an unending capacity to fool ourselves over and over again.
But the Creator and Lord of the universe sees the intents and purposes of our selfish heart. He is not fooled for a moment. He knows we will believe our own lies, because our heart is bent.
That is the reason he sent Jesus to die on the cross to pay the price for our deceitful hearts. We are so much better off to simply repent of our sin and ask His forgiveness so He can apply Jesus sacrifice against our sinful debts.
In fact, the bald truth is that we CANNOT forgive ourselves. Only God can forgive in such a way that our sin is no longer counted against us.
Quit forgiving yourself and pretending everything is alright.
Give your heart to Jesus and become the new person you were destined to be.