By: Lisa Wilmore
Scripture Reading: Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seventy times? Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with the servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me’, he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, cancelled the debt and let him go.
But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant’, he said. ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you? In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he should pay back all he owed.
This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart (Mathew 18: 21-35 NIV).
My Christian Friends,
There are times when forgiveness does not come as easy as we would like. However, we must have mercy and forgive those who are indebted to us as well as those who we feel have done harm to us. In the noted text, Matthew details the parable Jesus taught in reference to the “unforgiving servant”. As the servant was forgiven by the master, he should have forgiven his brother, also. In like manner, we as believers in Christ, must forgive others as many times necessary.
When we harbor unforgiveness in our hearts, we are in danger of being treated the way we treat those we have not forgiven. Christ specifically teaches us that there is a penalty for an unforgiven heart. We, the forgiven, must never neglect to forgive others as Jesus forgave us.