There are some things that are not optional for the followers of Jesus, and forgiveness is one of them. Jesus talked many times about forgiveness to his disciples, but he couldn’t be more clear than in Matthew 18:21-35. We not only learn that we must forgive others, but also learn that there are consequences if we refuse, and the reason why we are expected to forgive.
Jesus gives his disciples a parable about a guy who owed his master 10,000 talents of money. Now, one talent was equal to about 15 years worth of labor, so this guy owed his master 150,000 years worth of labor. By today’s standards, the average person makes about $50,000/year in the United States; that would be equal to $7.5 billion dollars!!
Needless to say, there was absolutely no way that this guy is going to pay his master back. However, he begged his master to be patient with him and give him more time. His master showed mercy on him and forgave everything!! You would think that this guy would be the most grateful man ever and forgive everyone else that he came across, right?
Unfortunately, after all of this, he found a slave of his who owed him money (not nearly as much as he owed his master), and refused to forgive his debt as he had been forgiven. Because of his actions, the guy’s master punished him by putting him in prison until he paid back all he owed, which would never happen…
This is a stern warning from Jesus for us today. Our debt for sin has been completely removed from us because of Jesus’ sacrifice! Because of that fact, we should be the most forgiving people on earth! Whatever someone has done to you cannot compare with the debt that has been paid for us; we need to forgive freely to all those who ask for it. We cannot bear grudges or hatred for anybody; it is time to let it go.