Copyright © Andrew J. Shreeve

Matthew 18:21 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.

If God expects us to forgive our brother 490 times then he also must be prepared to forgive us 490 times. 490 is not meant to be a limit and then no more forgiveness. Rather, Jesus is saying keep forgiving even if it seems unreasonable to forgive so many times

The one who asks us to forgive is also the one who is love:

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

In first Corinthians we can see some verses describing love which also relate to forgiveness.

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love suffers long (patiently endures)
V5 love is not easily provoked (stirred up, exasperated, irritated)
V7 love bears (suffers, covers with silence) all things, believeth (has faith, puts trust in) all things, hopes (expects, trusts) all things, endures (remains, bears trials, tarrys behind) all things
V8 love never fails (drops away, driven from ones course)

Jesus’ teaching is one of unconditional acceptance and forgiveness for God’s children that return to him :

Luke 15:11-25, 32:
V11 family relationship, we are in God’s family (Romans 8:15-16)
V18 the son returned to his father turning from his sin and asking forgiveness
V20 note the attitude of the Father. Compassion (pity, felt sympathy, yearned in his bowels). The father ran to his son (humbled himself), fell on his neck and kissed him.
V21 the son felt unworthy because of his sin.
V22-23 the Father reinstated him to his former position as Son (the best robe, ring on his hand, shoes on his feet, fatted calf, eat and be merry)
V24 the father focused, not on the sin but, on the restoration and the life. Forgiveness was instant and willing
V32 Jesus looks for the life and the good.
This teaching of Jesus can be applied to the attitude of our heavenly father towards us, and therefore is an example of how we should love and forgive those around us.

Matthew 6:9-12 in our prayers we are to ask forgiveness even as we forgive others.

On the cross we see the greatest example of God’s attitude towards the sins of humanity. Luke 24:33-34 Father forgive them; for they know not what they do

People often come under oppression of demonic spirits (Christian and non-Christian) and act in unreasonable ways. In these instances we need to be mature enough to recognise the evil source behind the bad behaviour (Ephesians 6:12)

God is patient and loving in his perseverance towards us and we need to extend that same love and patience towards those around us.

The forgiveness of sins is central to the message of the gospel and should also be central to our conduct with others around us (Luke 24:45-47) the remission of sins is central in the message of the gospel and if God has willingly remitted and forgiven our sins we also should forgive all the sins of those who have sinned against us.

Hebrews 10:9-22 let us view one another in the light of the cross. Let us see each other through the blood. Let’s forget those things which are behind (Philippians 3:13-14) let’s forget the sins of the past. Let’s not keep a record of sin (2 Corinthians 5:19). Let’s walk in love with one another for love is the bond of perfection (Colossians 3:14)