MATTHEW 18: 21-35
Peter thought he was being very generous by offering to forgive his brother seven times in one day, but Jesus said he should forgive him 490 times in one day. It would be impossible to have someone sin against you 490 times in one day. Jesus is actually saying that there should be no limit to our forgiveness.
When we are offended or hurt, we often feel justified in holding a grudge. The Old Testament law expressed this when it stated, ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth’ (Ex. 21:23-25). Until the offense was paid, we did not feel free to forgive. However, God dealt with all men’s offenses by placing sin upon the perfect Savior who was judged in place of every sinner of all time. To demand that others now earn our forgiveness is not Christ like. Jesus died for every man’s sins, extending forgiveness to us while we were yet sinners, and we should do the same.
The main thrust of this parable is that when we have people who wrong us, we should remember the great mercy that God has shown to us and respond in kind. Any debt that could be owed to us is insignificant compared to the debt we were forgiven. We should have compassion on others as Christ had on us.
If God expects us to forgive our brother who has trespassed against us 490 times in one day (actually an unlimited number of times), certainly He who is love will do no less with us.
The forgiveness that we have received from the Lord is infinitely greater than any forgiveness we could ever be asked to extend toward others.