Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Divine Nature: The Rule of 70 x 7


Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. 
Matthew 18: 21-22


 
The rule of 70 x 7, to forgive seventy times seven, is such a motivating rule for the sinner because what it does is it gives the sinner seventy times seven (plus) opportunities to repent. I don't know about you but I begin to feel a little sheepish after the first or second mistake. I don't like to waste others' time by going back to make amends again and again...it's easier to just let it go, accept defeat, and move on--without even saying sorry because heck, what would sorry mean to the other person anyway at that point? But seventy times seven. Wow! Even if the other person doesn't respect your remorse, God does. It's a command to never give up on yourself, even when you feel you have no reason to expect someone else to forgive you or to hope to make amends--it is a command to repent anyway, that you may be forgiven of God, that you may be freed, and feel His grace.

How hopeful a command! Others may give up on you but come what may--whatever judgment anyone else may have to dish out--you are not to give up on yourself because God has not, and He is no respecter of persons. 

It gives me courage to repent when I feel like by my standards, or someone else's, the cause is already lost. But the seventy times seven rule is a command to not accept defeat. No matter how annoying you may think it may be to the other person in the relationship, God has give you permission to keep on trying--you don't need the other person's permission, only God's. How amazing is that?! To have a relationship with someone who will never, ever, give up on you, no matter what anyone else may think. No matter how annoying or 'failed' you are or feel, He expects you to keep repenting, keep 'annoying' others you offend with contrite offers for recompense, seventy times seven times. That's mind-blowing to me. 

If you have His permission it doesn't really matter what others think of you anymore, or what they don't think of you for that matter. What matters is what He thinks of you. All He asks is that you live by the seventy times seven rule. Sounds fair to me. 

I'll take God's grace over man's judgment any day. I'm willing to suffer man's judgment if it means I can experience God's grace and lift off some weight. I'll pay whatever consequence man has to dig out for me to live in His grace.  

...

I learned the 70 x 7 rule for sinners a month or so ago. I knew it was time to change but didn't know how--until I came across the scripture and saw its application for the sinner. That gave me all the motivation and courage I needed to confront myself--to openly, albeit gracefully and even cheerfully, accept my shame. It's a good thing too because I had a list I'd worked up that I was just too prideful to go through up to that point. If you're already in the dump how do you protect yourself from ruining your reputation even more with a friend, family member or colleague? By not saying anything. But when you live by the seventy times seven rule you stop protecting yourself and give others power to rub it in and/or respond in whatever way they want. When you live by the seventy times seven rule you are real with others, you allow them to see your humanness, and you leave the rest in God's capable hands--come what may. And then, you're free! 

One of the funnier sins on my list was holding onto friends' books for years on end--books that I haven't made time to read and felt too ashamed to give back before reading, and so I just let time slip, feeling bad for not returning their books. I've mailed off a couple books now and have more to deliver lol. When I borrowed the books I was neighbors with those friends :) 

I am actually starting to enjoy facing the fear of repenting when I am afraid of judgment. When I begin to fear the person's reaction and/or punishment I think of the seventy times seven rule and remember that God's got my back. Instead of dreading confrontation I look forward to the relief I know I'll receive. 

I am grateful for the courage to see myself as I really am (the good and the bad), for friends who inspire me to do so <3, and I am grateful for the scriptures that help me understand God and myself better, and my relationship with others. Life is such a gift!