Verse: Matthew 18:23-35
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.”
Well, if you’re like me, your first thought was “ouch.” Immediate conviction. Jesus used this parable to teach about forgiveness in examples relevant to his listeners.
It makes me wonder, what would Jesus use to teach the same lesson today? Would He talk about the time someone was generous and donated to my classroom, but when I had a friend that needed help I didn’t support her? Would He talk about all of the times my husband has selflessly serves me in huge ways, but I get annoyed when I have to put his cup in the dishwasher? Or would he talk about bigger things? Would he talk about when I harbored bitterness against an old friend for a year? Or, how about the time I was filled with self loathing, insecurity, and anger for YEARS?
Friend, I could go on and on. Our fickle hearts listen to the enemy’s whispers to be angry, to be annoyed, that we have the right to hold a grudge. The story could end there… but Jesus. Our sin nailed Him to the cross, but He found the strength to say “Father forgive them”. He is the ultimate display of agape love, love in action. He knew the deepest, darkest, scariest corners of our souls. He still forgave us, and chose us. He wiped our debts clean.
Do you hear the freedom in that? All of the anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness cannot compare to my sin nailing my Jesus to the cross. If He can offer me forgiveness, how could I not do the same to others?
When we enter a relationship with God, we gain access to the Holy Spirit. In our human nature, we anger easily and do not readily forgive. Thankfully, we don’t have to rely on our nature. Through the Holy Spirit, we have access to the loving, forgiving heart of Jesus.
Thank you Jesus for parables to guide our hearts. Thank you for the love and forgiveness You model for us all throughout Your scripture. Jesus, thank you for forgiving all of my debt. Help me to find freedom in Your love. Holy Spirit, guide my words and actions. Change my heart to be more and more like you daily. Amen
Author: Becca Artymenko