Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” Matthew 18:21-22 NLT
This is a “Good News” passage of Scripture because it gives us a glimpse into the forgiving nature of God. The underlying message of this interchange between Jesus and Peter is that God is much more prone and committed to forgiveness than we are. The phrase “seventy times seven” is a figure of speech indicating there is no real limit as to how many times a person’s sin will be forgiven. While it is a challenge to the likes of Peter who must forgive the repeated sinner, it is wonderful news for those who struggle with the shame of repeated sin.
As Shakespeare said so eloquently “To err is human; to forgive [is] divine.” Much of human experience is designed to convince us of our need for the divine. There is nothing like our human depravity to drive us to acknowledge the desperate need for a forgiveness that is divine.