It seems to me one of the biggest problems facing the church today
is that too many Christians keep a record of sins committed by their
brethren. It is no wonder that the church is all but dying in many
places, places where there is a lack of brotherly love. Jesus said,
"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love
one to another" (John 13:35). Can the world know we are His disciples,
if we fail to love one another, but instead hold grudges?
Our obligation to our brethren is to forgive them if they sin
against us. We are to forgive them regardless of whether or not he or
she makes a confession of fault. As a matter of fact, it is a
condition of whether we are forgiven or not. Notice Mark 11:25, "And
when ye stand praying forgive if ye have ought against any: that your
Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses." We
need to remember that we must forgive one another in order to be
forgiven. So, are we to forgive them only the first time they sin
against us? Peter asked a similar question in Matthew 18:21-22. Notice
the answer given by Jesus, "I say not unto thee, Until seven times:
but, Until seventy times seven."
Jesus was not hinting at a limit of 490 times on our forgiving, but
this hyperbole was to illustrate that we are to forgive our brother
every time he sins against us. As brethren, we ought to be more
concerned with our forgiving and forgetting. Are we keeping a record
or forgiving? Remember Hebrews 13:1, "Let brotherly love continue."