But the seed falling on good soil is the one who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
When Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” what Peter really wanted to know was not how long he ought to keep forgiving, but how soon he could stop forgiving!*
Jesus, of course, knowing what Peter is up to, comes in with the high bid: seventy times seven. In other words, keep at it until I tell you to stop.
What if the one we’re tired of forgiving is ourselves? We try and we fail. We up our efforts and still fall short. We rededicate ourselves, plan for success, rearrange our schedules, purchase all the ingredients, engage all the helpers, invest in the best equipment and still…we fall flat on our faces. What then?
Jesus says, “Forgive yourself, again, just as I have forgiven you, again and again.”
Because He knows something we don’t know; the road we’re on is the one he’s paving. It’s not about making the right turn, following the map, or allowing for traffic. It’s not even about where the road leads. It’s about making forward progress. And nothing halts progress faster than looking around to see if anyone just saw that.
We didn’t. And if you still do, Jesus says, forgive yourself that. And while you’re at it, forgive others theirs. Expand the circumference of your forgiveness and see how far that takes you. But start with your own. And stop counting how many you’re up to. God’s not. Seventy times seven means always and forever.
Clean slate. Nothing holding you back. You got this.