Forgiveness matters to Jesus. And it will invariably matter to anyone who follows in Jesus' steps—if you don't believe that's true just listen close to what Jesus said to his friend and close follower Peter. When Peter asked, “How many times should I forgive a brother who sins against me? Isn't 7 going to be enough?”
I think Peter picked 7 because it seemed to him, like it does to me, that 7 was an outrageous number of times to forgive somebody. Forgive somebody—yeah seven times is enough. Even for Jesus 7 times would have been enough, Peter likely thought. But Jesus said no.
For Jesus forgiveness can happen 7 times sure. But it can also happen 77 times or 70 times 7 times. Jesus' math seems so strange to our earthbound ears—why because forgiveness costs us something—but we way to often miss what forgiveness gives us in return. Forgiveness in truth changes who we are—and forgiving like Jesus says 77 times or 70 times 7 will always sound so over the top. But it's that over the top life transforming gift of forgiveness that opens us up towards the new future that God has in store.
It's clear listening to Jesus that forgiveness matters to the God who loves us enough to die for us. Forgiveness was one of the words on Jesus lips as he died on the cross. Make no mistake real forgiveness isn't the resumption of an old broken way of being. Ask anyone who has lost a loved one because of anyone else's terrible choice if they will ever forget the person they've lost. No they won't and God isn't asking them to either. Forgetting isn't forgiveness. Instead forgiveness is opening up the door towards the future. Forget forgetting—forgiveness is opening up the door to the future that God has in store for all his people. Forgiveness is opening up the door so that even those who do wrong to others—which in simple truth is everybody here and everybody alive today—can rediscover who they were meant to be at the start of all times—people made in the image and likeness of God.
Peace and thanks for reading. John