Peter was generous, but not generous enough

Matthew Bible Background

01.26.2020 – New Testament: Matt 18.21–22

To read the Bible in a year, read Matthew 18.21–25 on January 26, In the year of our Lord Christ 2020

By Don Ruhl

Peter approached the Lord Jesus with a question, which I believe showed Peter’s generosity:

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

– Matthew 18.21

Would you have offered to forgive your brother seven times? Imagine a member of the church sinning against you, hurting you by harsh words. You forgive him. He does it again. As before, so again, he repents and you forgive him. It happens a third time. He sins against you a fourth time, then a fifth time, a sixth time, and finally a seventh time. Each time, he repents and you forgive him. Can you see yourself doing that?

When someone hurts us, we have the tendency to carry that hurt, even if we say we forgive him, but when he sins again and again and again, it gets to us and we harden our hearts. Peter’s spirit seemed generous to me.

How did the Lord answer Peter’s question? Are you ready for this?

Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

– Matthew 18.22

Did that surprise you? Peter had a generous spirit, but with a limit. The Lord encouraged the generous spirit, but without limits. Can you forgive a brother four hundred ninety times? Well, let me see, can God forgive me four hundred ninety times? Do I want Him to forgive me that many times or, truly, even more than that? You know the answers to those questions. Jesus wants us to forgive our brother as we want God to forgive us.


  • How have you treated a brother or sister who has sinned against you repeatedly and repented repeatedly?
  • Have you had to ask someone multiple times for forgiveness?

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