We finish the month with another one of Jesus’ parables in Matthew 18:21-35. Jesus tells the story of a servant who likes to live it up—even though he’s weighed down by MILLIONS of dollars in debt! This servant gets a big break when the king forgives his debt. You’d think he’s got it made—until he finds a man who owes him a few bucks. You’d think he’d pay it forward and cancel the debt, but that’s not what happened. He gets caught when he didn’t forgive others like the king forgave him.
The Servant Who Had No Mercy
21 Peter came to Jesus. He asked, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but 77 times.
23 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to collect all the money his servants owed him. 24 As the king began to do it, a man who owed him 10,000 bags of gold was brought to him. 25 The man was not able to pay. So his master gave an order. The man, his wife, his children, and all he owned had to be sold to pay back what he owed.
26 “Then the servant fell on his knees in front of him. ‘Give me time,’ he begged. ‘I’ll pay everything back.’ 27 His master felt sorry for him. He forgave him what he owed and let him go.
28 “But then that servant went out and found one of the other servants who owed him 100 silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he said.
29 “The other servant fell on his knees. ‘Give me time,’ he begged him. ‘I’ll pay it back.’
30 “But the first servant refused. Instead, he went and had the man thrown into prison. The man would be held there until he could pay back what he owed. 31 The other servants saw what had happened and were very angry. They went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the first servant in. ‘You evil servant,’ he said. ‘I forgave all that you owed me because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on the other servant just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers. He would be punished until he paid back everything he owed.
35 “This is how my Father in heaven will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
Bottom Line: Since God forgave you, you should forgive others.
Forgiveness is full circle. God chose to forgive us when we had a huge debt against Him because of our sin. Because we are forgiven of so much, when others hurt us, we should respond with forgiveness in return.