Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
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. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
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. 33Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:21-35, NIV)
One of the hardest, if not the hardest, lesson for Christians to learn is forgiveness of others. We have all been wronged by someone. We have all been wronged multiple times from the same person. We have all asked the same question Peter asked, “Do we really have to keep forgiving them?” Jesus does not give a simple answer and move on. He stops and explains in a way that will make people dwell on His answer, and remember the reason why we are to forgive.
God has forgiven us our debts (sins). He has seen all that we owe, all the sins committed, all that keep us from Him. Through Jesus, that debt was erased. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, so that our sin would be wiped away.
“Do we really have to keep forgiving them?” We are called upon to follow the Lord, act as He acted, live in a manner pleasing to him. We have been forgiven of more than anyone will ever ask us to forgive. If we are not willing to follow the Lord’s example and extend a mere fraction of the forgiveness we have been given, is our heart, our focus, our vision, really on the Lord? God’s mercy is unending, but we will eventually be judged in accordance to how we have judged others.