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.”
Forgiving seventy times seven does not mean that when someone has offended us 491 times we should not forgive last one because he or she reached the limit. Jesus did not tell Peter to undertake multiplication seventy times seven to calculate how many times he should forgive. The resulting number is only a symbol that we have to forgive always. If the mathematical operation that the Lord told Peter had been seven raised to 70 the number produced was 1.435 × 1059, i.e., 1,435 followed by 56 zeros, an immensely large amount, which clears the doubt that we must forgive every time.
An Arab legend says that two friends traveling through the desert when at some point in the trip they discussed, and one of them slapped the other. The victim, without saying anything, wrote in the sand: “TODAY MY BEST FRIEND STUCK A SLAP ME IN THE FACE.” They went on and reached an oasis where they decided to bathe. He who had been slapped and hurt started drowning and his best friend did not hesitate to save him. On recovering, he took a stylus and wrote on a stone: “TODAY MY BEST FRIEND HE SAVED MY LIFE.”
Intrigued the friend asked: “Why when I hurt you wrote in the sand and now you write in stone?” Smiling the other friend replied: “When a good friend offends us we should write on the sand where the wind of forgetfulness and forgiveness they will be responsible for deleting and off; but when we pass something great, we must engrave it in stone of the heart’s memory where no wind can ever erase it.”
I do not know if this Arab legend is real or a fictional story. The truth is that the attitude of offended friend is correct according to what it says Matthew 18:21-22. Forgive those who have wronged us is what we should do every time. That is also part of the model prayer that taught us the Lord and is also a requirement for forgiveness from God prayer.
As it is written in Matthew 6:14-15: For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. It is very clear to forgive our offenders is inescapable and we must do every time it occurs, without exception. If God is willing to forgive us our sins, who are we to deny forgiveness to someone?
If today you hear me or read this message you discover in your heart that you still have offenses that have not forgiven, I ask that you take into account what the Lord says. Besides that forgiveness is a commandment, unforgiveness makes you more harm to you than who offended you. Free yourself from all resentment and forgive as many times as necessary, it is useless to keep in your hearts the memory of an offense that maybe your offender does not even remember. Seventy times seven means forever. God bless you.