Most of us have an issue that really bugs. There is someone who has done something that really really hurts, or at least annoys. You think you’ve let go of it, but it just comes back again when you’re least expecting it.
In Matthew 18 v 22 Jesus tells Peter that forgiving someone seven times is not enough, but you need to forgive seventy-seven times. I don’t think Jesus was talking about someone doing seventy-seven wrong things against you. I think he was saying that if one big thing comes back again and again, you just have to keep forgiving it and laying it down. This is for our sanity, not just for the sake of the person who has wronged us.
I wonder if Jesus was thinking about Genesis 4 v 24 when he said that.
“I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times. ”
It strikes me that avengence killing just goes on and on. The hate never stops. That’s no way to live. We need to forgive… and forgive…and forgive…
The story goes straight on to the birth of Adam and Eve’s 3rd child, Seth. God demonstrates his love and forgiveness in making a new way forward. Through this child would eventually come the Messiah. And ‘At that time men began to call on the name of the Lord’ (v 26) We have a basic need for God. This was a fresh start. Fresh starts can only happen with forgiveness.