By Cat Tan
Unforgiveness (The Parable of the Wicked Servant)
Matthew 18: 21-35
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
Forgiveness is important to God. As Christians, you tend to take it so lightly. The mindset of entitlement sets in, telling you that you deserve better treatment than what you are given because of what you have done. You quantify it in your mind, thinking it amounts to 100 denarii - but Jesus equates it to 10,000 talents.
Forgive as your Father forgave. - It is a command. Matthew 6:15 says, “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” It seems conditional. If you want to be forgiven, you need to forgive. If you cannot forgive, then you will not be forgiven. With regards to the 10,000 talents versus 100 denarii, it just shows that you are judging from an earthly court. In other words, if a person kills someone and is sentenced to life imprisonment, he is only imprisoned in this lifetime. When he dies, the sentence is over. 10,000 talents is compared to eternity. Your sentencing in heaven is eternal, but your sentencing here on earth is only for a lifetime. Can you see the weight of your sin as committed in the spiritual realm as compared to its weight in the physical world? It is not even comparable. If it is a command and not a suggestion, then why are you holding on to unforgiveness? You may justify and say that you were done a very big wrong, it is a pattern and it is unforgivable. But when you think about it, Jesus did the the exact same thing on the cross. Holding on to unforgiveness is entitlement and is not glorifying to God. Forgiving is a decision that you make to honor God. You forgive because you have been forgiven.
Sin is sin. - Sometimes, you compare what other people did to you with what you did to other people. Whether you are a liar or a murderer, it is the same sin. You have to go to the throne of God and ask for forgiveness. Everybody needs forgiving. When you think about it, is there any other way to ask for forgiveness? You approach it with humility and expect grace. God is angry at unforgiveness. It is a sin because all are sinners who need forgiveness and grace. All sins need forgiving and the blood of Jesus.
Forgiveness is a choice. - Everybody has free will. If you choose to forgive, then you are following the commandment of Jesus. We live in a fallen world where everybody becomes a victim of sin. The first step of healing is forgiveness. Unforgiveness stops the grace of God from flowing, thus preventing healing. In the long run, it will limit you. You cannot freely receive and give love. Unforgiveness is also like a prison wherein you lose your freedom. You tend to look at others suspiciously and try to protect yourself from them. When you have unforgiveness in your heart, you try to numb the pain. And yet, it is still there. You do not move forward so it is still the same. Your own efforts to heal on your own will not work. Only the blood of Jesus and His commands can help you to forgive.
John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The enemy wants you to lose your strength , to limit you and not tend to your wounds. Unforgiveness affects all of you, your whole body and your entire being. You have to heal the right way. You may look fine on the outside but you are rotting inside. That is the lie and the bait of Satan. Just like the loss of blood flow in your body can decay you, the loss of the blood of Jesus in your life can kill you slowly. When He died on the cross, His blood flowed to cover past, present and future sins. It is not bound by time. Blood carries oxygen all throughout your entire body, giving you life. When a part of you is decaying, then that means Jesus is not flowing in that part of your life. When you have unforgiveness, it is like you are telling Jesus that your death and your blood is not enough to forgive. Matthew 7:23 says, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Are you self-righteous or entitled most of the time? You may think your sin is smaller than their sin. It is frustrating for many Christians. But there is really nothing you can do but to forgive and be loose of the chains of the enemy. Forgive. Now.