Seven Times Seventy?

September 12, 2014

Vicar’s Reflection: 14th September 2014,  
“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very  disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more  important than that.” -So said Bill Shankly the famous coach of Liverpool. Knowing right from wrong may seem like a simple exercise in common sense, yet common sense can let us down. How do define right from wrong? The example of our parents, our peer groups, and the general example of what is ‘normal’ in society all help but even with this we can be left with  only the vaguest idea of right and wrong. Jesus and his generation inherited a very strong moral and ethical tradition from the Old Testament law or ‘Torah’. In terms of that tradition, when Peter came to Jesus and asked if forgiving someone seven times was okay he was being extremely generous. Jesus shocks Peter by multiplying the expectation by seventy, indicating that forgiveness is a matter beyond the law, even beyond right and wrong, it is a matter of divine grace. To misquote Bill Shankly: ‘Some people believe forgiveness is a matter of life and death, but they’re wrong, it’s far more  important than that!’ To forgive or to not forgive, that is the question. Our divine destiny and God’s purpose of redemption relies on our answer. 
Alex Czerwonka

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