Matthew 18: 21-22, Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times (or seventy times seven or whatever you understand this number translation to be). Ultimately, He signifies that forgiveness should be endless and ever-enduring.
We are taught to love one another and forgive just as freely, not when we'd like to and not when we're ready. We must forgive as a 'commandment' of God. Forgiveness rates right up with the love found in the word of God, after all, he forgives us.
Forgiveness is essential to our development as Christians. Jesus wants us to love one another as he has loved us. Others will know that we are his disciples by our love for one another.
Don't assume that if you forgive someone who offends you, you must continue that relationship as though the offense never happened. God never commanded us to keep trusting those who violated our trust, but He does command that we forgive every time, more so when it is not asked of us.
So seventy-seven times? Some have genuinely forgiven one offender this many times, maybe more. There is a peace that we can't understand but find the power in when we forgive. God works like that.
I enjoy understanding the importance of numbers used in the Bible. I know just enough to help me understand the majesty of God and how everything created is held together through him. The number seven is identified as something "finished" or "complete." The number seven is used in the Bible many hundreds of times. God completes things he starts. He wants to see the good end to a tumultuous beginning of forgiveness complete so that our soul lines are open for communication without obligation to the sin of bitterness or defeat.
It is always a process from start to completion. Asking God to help us forgive allows us teachable moments. We all have been hurt, and we must continue to forgive every single time. How do we do this? We don't! God is the number 'seven' of completeness, and we are not, so through his tender care, we can!
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25-26