Verse: Matthew 18:23-35
(We are going to read some of Jesus's parables. Sometimes they are a little long, but stick with it!)
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.”
This is pretty convicting isn't it? Do you ever struggle with forgiving someone who has hurt you? I know I do.
It can be so easy to hold a grudge, harbor bitterness, or just be angry at someone who has hurt us. When people go behind our backs, betray us, leave us out, talk about us negatively, and more—it hurts.
The important thing is that Jesus knows our pain. He knows the pain of betrayal. He knows the pain of having friends leave him or turn their backs on him. He knows the pain of having people lie about him and gossip about him behind his back.
You are not alone in your pain.
The problem with unforgiveness is that it becomes a prison that actually traps you in your pain. When the man wouldn't forgive the other man who owed him a little compared to how much he had owed, what happened? He ended up in prison.
This is a metaphor obviously, but it really feels like prison when you live in unforgiveness.
Jesus wants you to be free. His forgiveness of you, gives the ability to forgive others. And when you forgive others, it sets you free. Forgiving others doesn't mean you have to be best friends with them, or even be friends at all. If they are unsafe, then be wise about whether you relate to them or not.
But forgiveness is choosing to not continue to punish them in your heart, or hold bitterness, or hatred towards them. It is letting their wrong go to Jesus, and allowing yourself to say with Jesus, "Father forgive them" as you forgive them as well.
I pray that you would help me to forgive others as you have forgiven me Lord.