Till seven times? - Though seven was a number of perfection among the Hebrews, and often meant much more than the units in it imply, yet it is evident that Peter uses it here in its plain literal sense, as our Lord's words sufficiently testify. It was a maxim among the Jews never to forgive more than thrice: Peter enlarges this charity more than one half; and our Lord makes even his enlargement septuple, see Matthew 18:22. Revenge is natural to man, i.e. man is naturally a vindictive being, and, in consequence, nothing is more difficult to him than forgiveness of injuries.
Then came Peter - The mention of the duty Matthew 18:15 of seeing a brother when he had offended us, implying that it was a duty to forgive him, led Peter to ask how often this was to be done.
Forgive him - To forgive is to treat as though the offence was not committed - to declare that we will not harbor malice or treat unkindly, but that the matter shall be buried and forgotten.
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Matthew 18:21, 22. UL 43.1
If the Lord should deal with the human family as men deal with one another, we should have been consumed; but He is long-suffering, of tender pity, forgiving our transgressions and sins. When we seek Him with the whole heart, He will be found of us.... UL 43.2Read in context »
This chapter is based on Matthew 18:21-35.
Peter had come to Christ with the question, “How oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” The rabbis limited the exercise of forgiveness to three offenses. Peter, carrying out, as he supposed, the teaching of Christ, thought to extend it to seven, the number signifying perfection. But Christ taught that we are never to become weary of forgiving. Not “Until seven times,” He said, “but, Until seventy times seven.” COL 243.1Read in context »
In dealing with erring church members, God's people are carefully to follow the instruction given by the Saviour in the eighteenth chapter of Matthew. 7T 260.1
Human beings are Christ's property, purchased by Him at an infinite price, bound to Him by the love that He and His Father have manifested for them. How careful, then, we should be in our dealing with one another! Men have no right to surmise evil in regard to their fellow men. Church members have no right to follow their own impulses and inclinations in dealing with fellow members who have erred. They should not even express their prejudices regarding the erring, for thus they place in other minds the leaven of evil. Reports unfavorable to a brother or sister in the church are communicated from one to another of the church members. Mistakes are made and injustice is done because of an unwillingness on the part of someone to follow the directions given by the Lord Jesus. 7T 260.2Read in context »