For the human heart, forgiveness is never free. Forgiveness always comes at a price. Is the ex-con really ever forgiven for his or her crime? Or for the rest of their life do they have to check that box on their employment application that says, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” For us we don’t want to hand out forgiveness free of charge. The other person has to prove themselves worthy of forgiveness. Maybe after they’re dead and gone we’ll forgive them. Maybe, but not likely. It’s much more fun to carry around the grudge, to keep it in our pocket like we keep our wallets or money. Ready to be pulled out at a moment’s notice to flash in front of that person’s face, to display it back to the world, “See what they did to me!” We wield our grudges like swords ready to strike back. Forgiveness for the human heart is never free.

That was what lay underneath Peter’s question to Jesus, “How many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Peter thought he was being generous. Seven represented fullness, completeness, the end of the matter. So to forgive someone seven times would be sufficient. But the eighth time…well, then Peter could hold a grudge. Then he could strike back. Then he could take his revenge. Forgiveness wasn’t free for Peter, either. It had its limits.

Do you have your limit?

God wipes out your debt completely, and it did cost something. Our Heavenly Father charged our debt to his son. Jesus expressed that cost with three simple words, “It is finished.” The payment of mankind’s great debt? Finished. Earning God’s love and favor and kindness for mankind? Finished. Dying for your sins? Finished. God had pity on you, and in his love rescued you. There is no limit.

There may be a great cost for forgiveness, but that's been paid...and paid...and paid...without limit.

And you can forgive, too.