Matthew 18:21-22 – Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”
Peter wanted to know how many times the Lord would have him to forgive his brother. This is so like us, wanting to know exactly how far God would want us to go so that we don’t have to go an inch further. Peter even suggests a wonderfully godly number like seven times! I can hear Peter saying to himself, “Surely the Lord would not want me to forgive more than seven times.” Jesus knew the heart of this Apostle and Jesus decides to go so far and above Peters suggestion that Peter would no doubt think this would be impossible for him to accomplish. “No Peter” Jesus says “not seven times, but rather four hundred and ninety times you are to forgive your brother that sins against you.” To put it more literally, “Peter forgive your brother indefinitely. Never cease to forgive another who sins against you.”
I would like to point out something to you about forgiveness. Forgiveness does not necessarily mean a restored relationship the way it was before any offense against you. Just because you forgive someone, does not automatically result in a continued relationship with that person. There will be times when forgiveness does bring restoration, but there will also be times when reconciliation is not possible or necessary. Your challenge this week is to consider the people in your life that God is calling you to truly forgive. Take the first step and forgive them in your heart and free yourself from bitterness toward that person. Secondly, confront this person and explain to them how they have wronged you and pray they come to the place of confession. Finally, after they have confessed to you, let them know you have already forgiven them. Wether or not you have a future relationship with this person is an entirely separate issue. But at least now you have done what the Lord has called you to do and you can both move forward in your lives. God bless you.