Christ Like Forgiveness Pt. 2

By: George William

Last week I wrote an article about Paul discussing how evil he actually was before his conversion, yet he was forgiven by the disciples, and how we hate those who’ve done far less. This week, I will discuss how we are commanded to forgive.

Matthew 18:21-35 tells the parable of the unforgiving servent. It says: 21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25 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. 26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. 28 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. 29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. 32 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: 33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

First, I will breakdown the parable, then the statements between Peter and Jesus beforehand.

In verse 23 Jesus says: Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king. What this is saying is that God is like the king of this story, that makes the servents us. Not just believers, but all mankind.

24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25 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. 26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. The ten thousand talents is our sin, nothing which we could ever pay back. As like the punishment for the servents debt was to be sold, his family and possessions sold, ours is hell. We’ve broken the law, the debt must be paid. As the servent fell down and worshipped to be forgiven, we must do to Jesus and be forgiven and we will be. 1 John 1:9.

28 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. As we are the servent, almost immediately after being forgiven our unpayable debts, we seek payment by others for miniscule debts.

29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. Our fellow man seeks our forgiveness as we did, yet we do not grant it while still being forgiven ourselves only a short time before.

31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. 32 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: 33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. I believe the key part of this section is verse 35. This is not a vague statement but definitive. So shall the Father do if you forgive not their trespasses. This phrasing harkens back to the Lord’s prayer. Matthew 6:5-15: 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Now that I have broken down the parable, let’s go back to what Peter said, and Jesus immediately after.

21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. What Peter really is wondering here is, how many times must he forgive someone to be considered really good. Jesus’ response isn’t meant to give the definitive answer of 490 but really to forgive unending. We know this because of passages like Ephesians 4:32 that says, And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Again 1 John 1:9 as sited before.

We forgive others as much as Christ has forgiven us. Unendingly. This is not merely a suggestion, but a commandment. There is definitive repercussions for not following it. It is not just that you should forgive everyone from the 5 year old to the genocidal maniac. (As I laid out in pt. 1) But you must, as a Christian, and do so unendingly.

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