Forgiveness, a subject that many Christians sometimes need to learn about, is very important in the Bible. Resentment can not fit into the heart of a Christian and that is why Jesus emphasizes that theme in the eighteenth chapter of the book of Matthew:
Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
This parable shows us the sovereign grace of God in forgiving sinners, but on the other hand it also shows us how human beings want a good to be done to them but they do not practice it with others.
The parable is about a king who wanted to make an accounting with his servants. The first one that was presented to him owed ten thousand talents. It is important to know that ten thousand talents was a very large amount, (One talent was equivalent to 6 thousand pences. A pence was what a hireling earned in a single day’s work). Jesus uses this great number with a great purpose.
Obviously that servant did not have enough money to pay off the debt, the only thing he could do was to pray to his lord and that is exactly what he did, since the decision of his lord was very severe:
At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.
Is it impossible to forgive such a large debt? In this parable Jesus shows us that it does not matter how your brother has sinned against you:
The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
“Moved to mercy”: It is important to understand that mercy is an attribute only posessed by God, but even though it is an attribute of God, if we are Christians, that mercy must also move us. It’s amazing, you’ll say: That’s too much money to be forgiven! Did you know that this amount is unmatched by the great debt we had which Jesus paid on the cross of Calvary for you and me?
God, like this man, has also forgiven all our debts, do we also forgive the debts of our brothers? Or do we do like this servant, who after having been forgiven did not forgive his fellow servant?
28 “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.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.
Amazing! This man had been forgiven a debt that he could not pay even working all the years of his life, however, now we see his fellow servant who owed him a hundred pences, which was a too small a quantity compared to the debt that was forgiven.
The most famous prayer, our Father, teaches us to forgive our brothers:
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Forgiveness is not an option for a Christian, forgiveness is a duty, it is an obligation. Forgiving is the evidence that we have truly been saved. And just as our heavenly Father forgives us, so we must forgive our brothers.
Jesus continues the parable and says:
32 Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.
33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’
34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
We have been called to have mercy for others. And we learn this from Jesus Christ, who dying on a cross said: “Father forgive them because they do not know what they are doing.” We have to forget our old way of thinking, we are Christians, different people, who try every day to be like Christ.
We learn that this man had a great judgment on the part of his lord for not having forgiven the debt of his fellow servant and for this Jesus ends his parable saying:
This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.
We invite you to practice forgiveness in Christ Jesus, as this will help us to make our heart more peaceful.