If nothing is able to separate David from God’s love, it is a safe bet there is nothing that will separate me or you from God’s love. But for the forgiveness to happen, we must be willing to look inward and know where we fall short. It is neither easy nor pleasant.
How many songs, poems, books, and works of art are devoted to love, inspired by it’s ecstatic heights and haunted by its absence? It’s a fundamental human need to give and receive it, but why are we so bad at it? The author bell hooks wrote: “Everywhere we learn that love is important, yet we are bombarded by its failure.”
Jeremiah can teach us three things about the kind of forgiveness God offers Israel and Judah. And we can learn something about the nature of forgiveness itself, the forgiveness we’re called to practice. God’s forgiveness is relational, radical, and relentless.
Maybe what Jesus is trying to teach Peter by replying with such an outlandishly large number is that mercy takes repetition in order to gather strength. In other words, forgiveness takes practice. Maybe it’s something we never “get right,” so we have to keep at it.