“Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?'”Matthew 18:21
A more gratuitous word cannot be heard, unless it has been repeated seventy times seven. I took a liking to Peter from the first day I read about him. He had that impulsive nature that set him off from the other disciples. Perhaps his ego got him in trouble; nevertheless, through his character we learned innumerable words from the lips of the Savior.
He not only asked Jesus a question in Matthew 18:21, but he even gave the Lord a number to show that forgiveness, seven times exercised was a very large number. However, when Jesus answered, He said that it should be in effect seventy times seven. Dr. Ryrie notes it to be “continual forgiveness”.
So, you bent backwards and awarded an individual forgiveness. Are you sure? If you have to wait for the individual to come crawling, or if you take on a braggadocios attitude, I doubt that you have forgiven. While the inability exists that one cannot forget, it is how I act toward the one to whom I extended forgiveness that clearly indicates my inner man. If I tell someone else, I have not truly forgiven. In that moment we assert the attitude: “How great I am!”
Reading the full account of what Christ said in the remaining verses of the chapter clearly indicates that “compassion” should accompany forgiveness. An unsaved individual does not fully comprehend what and why you are showing a reflection of God’s grace to you, whereas a Christian should be able to see it oozing out of yours and my attitude of having understood what God has wrought in us through HIS forgiveness.
The extension of that compassionate forgiveness is illustrated with the words of verse 27: “The Lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.” But, look what the slave did toward others. When we forget for a moment, we revert back to the old nature.
FORGIVE AS CHRIST HAS FORGIVEN YOU! Anything shy of that means you still have an un-forgiving spirit. Eternity will require accountability!