Periodically it’s important that we all be reminded of Jesus’ mandate to forgive each other. In Christ we have been forgiven all our sins by grace through faith. Because of the grace shown to us, we must also be willing to forgive those around us. The forgiveness of a Christian is supposed to follow after the incredible mercy of Jesus. We are required to forgive others over and over again, because we ourselves have been forgiven much more by Jesus.
In this teaching there is no room for bearing grudges. There is no place for conditional love – “if you do this for me, I’ll do that for you.” Instead, it’s very clear. You have been forgiven, so you must forgive others. If you refuse to forgive another person, and instead choose to remain in anger, nurse hopes of retribution, or simply cut the person off from your life, you are not displaying the love of Christ. If this goes on for a long time it should give you grave concern over the condition of your soul (v.35).
No passage better teaches this than Jesus’ ‘Parable of the Unforgiving Servant.’ I hope you will read this parable and consider if it describes any aspect of your life. Take seriously the final warning in verse 35. By the work of the Holy Spirit in you, you must forgive – from the heart.
Matthew 18:21-35 — The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
May the Lord give us authentic love for each other, a love that will forgive like Christ,