I tell you, [forgive] not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Matthew 18:21
Peter comes to Jesus in Matthew 18 and says, “How many times am I supposed to forgive my brother or sister who offends me?” And then, according to Jewish custom and law, Peter offers (via a question) an answer, “Up to seven times?”. Jesus looks at him and responds with the quote from Matthew noted above.
Beloved, the Greek word which we translate “forgive” does not mean to let the person off the hook or to grant pardon for a past act. No, the word Jesus and Peter use means, let go. Jesus invites us to choose to let go of things that have been done to us, let go of the bad behavior of others or ourselves; let go so that we might choose to be free of the weight of something unforgiven. This is our choice, to let go. Sometimes we will need help to do so (I have freely admitted using a wonderful psychotherapist to help me let go of some things). Sometimes prayer is sufficient. Sometimes it takes a long time. Sometimes it happens more quickly. But, we always have a choice to forgive/let go and be free. What will you choose? To hold on to that which is not health producing or forgive the circumstances, the person, or yourself and let go. May we choose well.