Friday, January 29, 2021
The Debt We Couldn’t Pay
“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 NLT).
One day Simon Peter went to Jesus and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” (Matthew 18:21 NKJV).
Maybe Peter wanted to impress the Lord with his willingness to forgive. He probably thought Jesus would say, “Seven times! Let’s give Peter a round of applause. That is incredible! I can’t believe you with your forgiving attitude!”
But Jesus essentially said, “Seven times? I was thinking of 70 times seven.”
Was Jesus saying that we could forgive someone up to 490 times, and then on the 491st offense, we could nail them to the wall?
No. Jesus was advocating unlimited forgiveness. He was saying, “You forgive them over and over again.”
Jesus then went on to tell a story about a king who decided to collect what his servants owed him. But one of the servants who owed him a significant amount couldn’t pay the debt. So the king ordered that the servant, his wife, his children, and everything he had must be sold to pay the debt.
But the desperate servant threw himself down before the king and begged for mercy. The king, feeling sorry for this man, decided to immediately erase the entire debt.
Then Jesus continued with the story: “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. . . . He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full” (Matthew 18:28, 30 NLT).
When the king heard about what happened, he threw the unforgiving servant into prison until he paid the king everything he owed.
God has forgiven us of the most enormous debt imaginable: all of our sins. Therefore, if God has done that for us; then surely, we can extend that same forgiveness to others.
It’s only reasonable that we who are forgiven should also forgive.
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