21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”
22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!
23 “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him.24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 25 He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.
26 “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’27 Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.
28 “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.
29 “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded.30 But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.
31 “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened.32 Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me.33 Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.
35 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”
I read this story of the unforgiving debtor this morning in my time with the Lord. I have been working through or better said struggling with forgiving an individual.
Forgiveness is so hard isn't it?! But what struck my heart this morning was the line "I forgave you a tremendous debt because you pleaded with me."
It's almost as if the Lord put up a mirror to my face and said "that's you." The very person and sin I am struggling to forgive, I have committed in much worse form. Ouch!
I have to find the practical application in scripture so I asked myself, "what does this mean you need to do practically today?!"
And the Lord led me to Matthew Henry's commentary on this passage. He says, "We do not forgive our offending brother aright, if we do not forgive from the heart. Yet this is not enough; we must seek the welfare even of those who offend us. How justly will those be condemned, who, though they bear the Christian name, persist in unmerciful treatment of their brethren! The humbled sinner relies only on free, abounding mercy, through the ransom of the death of Christ. Let us seek more and more for the renewing grace of God, to teach us to forgive others as we hope for forgiveness from him."
And that is me right now, in my flesh I want to punish the one who I am having trouble forgiving. I must instead seek their welfare-praying for them because I know when I began to pray for those who hurt me it might not change the situation but it changes my heart and I think that's what God's after anyway.
Oh God give me more and more grace to learn to forgive- to set others free of the debt they owe me- to let.it.go-not up in the air but into your hands! Thank you for your never ending undeserved forgiveness. Amen.
Can you relate? Are you struggling with forgiveness? I would love to pray for you. Comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.