Forgiveness – Matthew 18

Forgiveness is one of the hardest things for me, and I’m sure most people, to give. We’re hurt. We’re angry. We know we should forgive, but then we’d be opening ourselves up to being hurt all over again. It’s not in our nature, but it is in God’s.

Peter came to Jesus and asked Him a question: “How many times should I forgive my brother?”  I can just see him looking out the corner of his eye at Andrew as he added magnanimously, “seven times?” Jesus response must have floored him. “Seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:22 NIV) or “Seventy times seven.” (KJV) Either way that’s a lot of times. I think that the point is not keeping a tally sheet, but to just forgive.

Then Jesus gave an example, a parable about a king settling accounts. A man came in who owed 10,000 talents (equivalent to several million dollars today). The king demanded what was owed. The man answered that he didn’t have it right now, but given some more time he would. The king ordered that the man, his family, and everything he owned be sold to pay the debt. At that the man threw himself on the floor and begged for mercy. The king felt pity on him and forgave the debt.

The man left the king and as he was going about his business he saw a friend to whom he had loaned 100 denarii (100 days wages at minimum wage about $6000). He demanded what his friend owed him. When his friend said that he didn’t have it now but would pay it back as soon as he could, the man grabbed him by the throat and had him thrown into debtors’ prison.

Others who had seen both interactions went back to the king and reported what had happened. The king called the man back and had him thrown into debtors’ prison as well until the debt was paid.

Now think about all the sins God has forgiven for you. Now, how can we, in the light of God’s grace and mercy, not forgive others? It won’t be easy, and the hurt might not go away for a whole, but God is there to comfort. Trust Him to help you and heal you. And forgive without keeping count.

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