Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. – Matthew 18.21-22
The Bible says a lot about forgiveness. I think the reason is is that forgiveness can be so hard to do sometimes. We are hurt or our pride is hurt or some other offence takes place and even after a person asks forgiveness we can’t forgive. If we do, and it happens again it is even harder to forgive. The more that goes on the harder it gets.
So Peter asks about forgiveness and how many times we have to do it. ‘When a brother offends me how often do I have to forgive him? Maybe seven times?’
Surely seven times was more than enough. Surely after seven times it is pretty obvious that he wasn’t sincere. How many times have we told our kids ‘if you were really sorry you’d stop doing it!’
To Jesus though wanted more. ‘Not seven times, but seventy times seven times.’
Seventy times seven. Let’s see that’s, um, 490 times to accept an apology and forgive. That’s a lot of forgiveness.
I don’t think though that that’s the point. I don’t think we are to keep count and on offense number 491 think we don’t need to forgive. People say that we should only put up with people to a certain point – Jesus seems to say that we keep on loving and keep on forgiving.