But for the born again believer, God expects much more than a count to ten. In Matthew 18:1-35, Jesus teaches us how we are to treat those who are problematic to us. In verses 1-14, He warns them not to discipline children (perhaps babes in Christ) in such a way that they leave the fold. For the mature man, one who should know better, correction has a three-step "procedure":
1) Take the time to deal with it privately (v. 15).
2) Take the time to bring spiritual leaders into the discussion (v. 16).
3) Take the time to bring the matter before the whole church (v. 17).
Note: all are aimed at resolution and repentance.
It was today's date that got me thinking about counting beyond ten. Today is 11-12-13. That made me wonder what an offended believer is to do once he reaches ten. Unlike a world that thinks they need count only to ten, Christians, who are not of this world but are to be a peculiar people (Jn. 18:36; 1 Pet. 2:9), are to count to at least four hundred and ninety! In our passage in Matthew, Peter came to Jesus 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" (v. 21-22). In other words, keep on forgiving!
Personal offenses and grievances are not to divide one Christian from another. Some would interpret verse 17 as saying that, but what are you and I to do when we come across an unbeliever? Are we to shun him and treat him like a "leper?" No! We are to continue to pray for, and witness to, that individual! We are never to give up on a person!
Jesus cares about 100 percent of His flock; He will not rest until all are in the fold!