September 17, 2023: Forgiveness Has No Bounds

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Forgiveness Has No Bounds

We have all been in situations where we seek forgiveness or we must give it to someone. Sometimes it can be difficult to look past our feelings to get to the peace that comes after forgiveness. Often, when we feel betrayed or hurt, we may vow never to forgive the person who has done us wrong. Is this an unforgiving spirit? I would say so. When we hold on to things that hurt us, it does nothing but drain us. When we dwell on past offenses and mistakes, it depletes our spirit. Asking God to help us set things right in our minds, to find it in our hearts to forgive, and placing it behind us go a long way for healing, peace, and restoration.

This brings up the question that Peter asked: how many times should we forgive? Peter mentioned seven as a number that seemed reasonable. He asked this question, probably thinking it is only logical that there is a limit. However, Jesus gave a larger number, to infer that forgiving someone is limitless. Did Jesus give this number because he knew that we most likely cannot and would not keep track, or did he give this number indicating that it would be more difficult to keep track if we were inclined to do so?

Jesus’ answer demonstrates how God forgives us.  God does not keep track or give us a limit. No matter how much we “mess up” or sin, God forgives us every time.

The parable of the Unforgiving Servant is to teach us that just as God forgives us, we too must forgive as many times as necessary. When Jesus was on the cross, the first statement he made was calling on God the Father to forgive those who placed him there. Jesus’ words from the cross echo his answer to Peter’s question: Forgiveness has no bounds.


Blondel Jones-Grant, pastor, Great Kills Moravian Church
Staten Island, New York