Peter asks the Lord how many times must one forgive another if he has sinned against you. He proposes, seven times as a reasonable approach. Jesus views it differently, in my word he says try and try again, other words, seventy times seven.
LAW AND ORDER
Law is fundamental to an orderly society. It is black and white. Step over the legal limit and you pay the consequences. Have you ever received a parking ticket even though you came back just a few minutes late to find a parking officer writing a ticket, and unbending toward you pleas for mercy. From parking tickets to ………… the law rarely displays forgiveness.
What a contrast to the call to forgiveness proposed by Jesus. From where does the difference arise?
Laws of behaviour are set with little personal knowledge. They are established for societal general purpose. To implement them you merely need a relatively restricted vision of life. Crossing the line of the acceptable is relatively easy to detect. Being detected is a problem as the axiom, yes do what you want, but don’t get caught.
Yet law is so important to society that from an early age our preoccupation with them is ingrained in our mind. So ingrained is this mentality that for most of us we are ready to judge the behaviour of others. People can easily slip into a critical, judgemental mentality.
From a different perspective we might develop a different approach. Psychology understands the make-up of the human mind in a far more comprehensive way. It doesn’t have as obvious means of assessment. It requires more subtle perception, self-knowledge and imagination.
It requires an openness of mind to see the less obvious. The mind is often spoken of as conscious and unconscious. The conscious is merely the tip of the iceberg, while the unconscious is so expansive with less known realms of our experience, yet a depth of life that has far more impact upon what we do of feel.
When a psychologist counsels a person, their view of that person is broad and deep, couched in an attitude of overall acceptance so that they can therapeutically work with the darker, problematic areas of pain, fear and anxiety, experiences that would easily or regularly result in unacceptable social behaviour.
Jesus would have been alert to these sociological -cum-legal and psychological perspectives, but even further his vision was of a spiritual nature that held all of life as one and without limits. He saw with the purposeful eyes of the divine. He encouraged the growth and development of all people, by way of the renewal of our mind.
The building of society is by encouraging people to love their neighbour as themselves. The good and the bad or the wheat and the weeds were all necessary to be considered in the context of the overall purpose of establishing his Kingdom. To fulfil his mission all failure needs to be forgiven and worked with as we discover the potential for good within the problematic.
It requires, patience and a broad vision as part of a compassionate heart.
It requires the willingness to forgive 70 times 7 x 7 x 7