Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Matthew 18:21-26
The topic of forgiveness is not a very popular topic. Most of us have been hurt by people or used, however as a Christian we are commanded to forgive these people. Sounds like a simple concept, however it’s so difficult that many Christians refuse to do it. Why should we forgive people? Well because Christ has forgiven us, even when we were wretched sinners, even when we were at the lowest point of our lives, Jesus showed mercy and compassion on us, and Christ forgave us! Reminds me of when Jesus was on the cross and said “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34) Think about that! While Christ was hanging on the cross for our sin, the same people who crucified him , Christ forgave them!
Now Peter asks The Lord “How many times should I forgive someone who sins against me”? Now we talked previously about Jesus teaching on “Church Discipline” , this teaching ties in with this. Jesus said “I tell you not seven times, but seventy times seven times” Now to get some context here, the Mosaic Law believed you should forgive someone 3 times (Amos 1) so Peter was taking it to another level by forgiving 7 times. However Jesus is telling Peter to always forgive! This is the difference between the Old and New Covenants, while Christ provides grace and mercy and The Law provides death! The number 7 in the Bible is always symbolic of completion or perfection, this is most likely why Christ used the numbers 70 times 7
Jesus begins to teach a parable about a King wanting to settle debts with his servants. This is obviously about Christ forgiving us of our sins, the servant is unable to pay his debt and begs the King for mercy. This is true repentance, understanding our sin and asking Christ for forgiveness
Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. Matthew 18:27-35
Now notice, the King (Christ) forgave his servants of their debt (sins) But the same servants that he forgave, would not forgive each other. As Jesus said “You wicked servant, I forgave you of all your sin, shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant”? We as Christians, can’t be hypocrites, if we expect Christ to forgive us we need to forgive others, even when its hard or seems impossible.
Jesus ends with a warning “This is how my Heavenly Father (God) will treat you unless you forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart” This warning should cut us to the heart, it’s our natural response to be angry and hold grudges against people, but that’s not what Christ has commanded us to do! We need to forgive because The Lord has forgiven us first! Amen!