Matthew 18:21-35 The unforgiving servant

This parable is given in response to Peter’s question about forgiveness. After Jesus tells Peter he must forgive a person seventy times seven, He tells them this parable.

This parable is at the same time both simple and profound. The King is God, the servant is you, your debt are your sins. In the parable the king forgives a debt of 10,000 times 20 years wages. Roughly 6.4 Billion dollars. His fellow servant owes $870.00 and the unforgiving servant throws the man in prison. The King hears of it. And says I forgave you everything and you put your fellow man in prison over $870.00. Now I will hold you accountable for your debt.

Let’s put this into terms of our sins. If you only sinned 3 times in a day that’s over a 1000 sins a year, and 20 years’ worth is 20,000 sins. 10,000 times 20,000 is 200 million sins. And that is only if you sin 3 times a day. Yet however large the sum really is God forgives it.

How many sins has anyone committed toward you? 20 or 30? Have you got anyone getting over a 100 times? Considering all God has forgiven you, should will you still fail to forgive other people?

They spread gossip about you, call you names, undermine you at work or school, or cheated you in business. These are big things yes, but in the light of what God has forgiven you they are nothing. So, the straight forward message is you need to forgive others or God will hold you accountable for your own debt to Him.

Now I want to give this story a twist, to where you are both servants. God has forgiven you your great debt, yet you hold unforgiveness toward yourself. You make a mistake, speak crossly toward your spouse, child, parent, or friend. Now your angry at yourself for what you have done so you punish yourself in some way. We feel bad, are depressed, over eat, or isolate ourselves. We watch a bad movie or read a rotten book, spend to much on things we don’t need, or click on the wrong web page, or get angry because the car broke down. Now we are upset at our lack of holiness. So, we punish ourselves. We tend to be extremely unforgiving toward our selves. We stop praying because we are not worthy of talking to God. We stop going to church because we are not worthy of being with those other holy people. We stop being with friends because we don’t measure up to them. Some people are even physically ill because they fail to forgive themselves.

I was talking to a woman who told me that 20 years ago she stole her friend’s boyfriend and married him. She felt guilty and wanted to give him back. No, she wanted to know what I thought she should do. I told her to forgive herself, because God already has. Jesus died for your sin isn’t that enough?

God has forgiven you an astronomical debt, much of it you are unaware of and could not comprehend. But you will not let yourself off the hook for the ice cream cone you ate.

So, today look at life and ask who do I need to forgive? Could the person you need to forgive, even be you? What ever you have done, whatever someone has done to you, is nothing to what God has already forgiven you. Jesus has already paid for these things on the cross. Isn’t His life enough? Jesus was rejected, humiliated, beaten, nailed to a cross, his blood pouring out on the ground. He looks at us from the cross and ask isn’t this enough payment for you? Let us take up the challenge today of living a life of forgiving and being forgiven.