Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”
Matthew 18:21-22 New King James Version (NKJV)
It is a great thing when we realize that while we are of limited natures, God is not. If Jesus had decided the people had been forgiven enough for all the wrong they had done before giving His life on the cross, where would we be? God already knew that sin would flourish among mankind, even before we were born into it. Our Creator knew our inability to fight it on our own. That is the reason He sent His only Son to overcome it. We are limited creatures but we worship an unlimited God.
The Bible tells us to forgive and forgive and forgive over and over again. That is behavior we can accomplish with our free-will and a place in our hearts we are not limited. Even Peter, while following Christ, asked for a set number of times he should forgive. If you know his story, he used up three of those seven times in one night at the end of his journey with Jesus! The Lord knows, Peter had been forgiven more than seven times himself. But that's human nature. We desire to limit our forgiveness to others while requiring so much more for ourselves.
When we forgive, we are free to receive the forgiveness we need so desperately in these times of trial, temptation and struggle. We are obeying God's command and trusting in His Word. We are pleasing God and opening up the doorway to blessings. We are opening our hands and letting go of those things we hold on to that limit what we can receive from God.
When you do the math, forgiving someone 490 times seems like a lot and I don't think Jesus meant for us to stop there. I believe that Jesus was saying that when we learn to forgive that many times, we will probably stop counting how much we forgive, like He did.