In Matthew 18:21-22 Jesus told Peter that we should forgive “seventy times seven times“. Forgiveness is at the heart of Christianity. So significant is forgiveness that Jesus taught us to pray, “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). Paul shares a similar theme, “forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13). When we forgive, we mirror the grace of God to others. When we forgive, we demonstrate that we ourselves were forgiven. Our debt to God was infinite and when Christ paid for it in full, we express our gratitude toward God by acting like God in forgiving others. Therefore, when Jesus tells Peter to forgive seventy times seven times, He is not speaking hyperbole, but rather outlining the expectation that His followers are to be quick to forgive the relenting and repenting offender.
The number that Jesus gives signifies that the number of times a person is to forgive is to be so great that we should not be counting. Jesus forgave infinitely from the cross when He prayed, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). So if we are to be faithful followers and ambassadors of Jesus, we forgive and forgive often.