How Often Should I Forgive? – 4

*Pastor’s Note: This is the conclusion as part of this weeks Body Ministry category which is an article adapted from Cecil E. Sherman’s Formation Commentary on Matthew. There are a couple of things that I have not kept in the post, things that will NOT change the flow of the message in the least. Also I changed the Scripture verses to the New King James Version.

It will be broken up into four parts throughout this week. Also, any images displayed are not part of the original, but put in as part of my posting. My prayer is that you will be blessed, inspired and encouraged by this to move forward towards Christ Jesus in strength!

An Illustration Of Forgiveness

“Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.”

“But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.”

“So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” – Matthew 18:23-35.

Jesus made up a story to illustrate his point. “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 talents was brought to him.” The story unfolds. Here are the parts I see in the story:

  1. God is “the king.” We are the servants.
  2. Everybody is in debt to the king in some way. None has a clean slate. It is not a matter of “do you owe the king?” Rather, it is a matter of “how much do you owe the king?” Put in terms we know better, “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:22-23.
  3. The first “servant” owed the king a ridiculous sum. Some Bible Dictionaries state this: “A talent was worth more than fifteen years’ wages of a laborer.” This man owed “ten thousand talents.” He was in so deep, there was no possible way he could work his way out.
  4. The poor fellow begged for mercy and got it. “The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.” This is always God’s way.
  5. Then the forgiven fellow went out and found a “fellow servant,” and he asked/demanded the man pay him the “hundred denarii” owed him. Again, Bible Dictionaries describe the denarius as “the usual day’s wage for a common laborer.” The man who owed 100 denarii begged for time and mercy. None was given. The poor fellow was put in debtor’s prison because he could not come up with 100 denarii, but the man who put him in jail had been forgiven a king’s ransom.
  6. Word of this meanness reached the king. The king was angry and called the wicked servant to stand before him. Hear the king’s words: “‘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?'” The king punished the wicked servant severely. The teaching: “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

Any grievance we have between each other is small compared to the debt we all have with God. God has given us much. We ought to be able to get past, put aside and find it in our hearts to forgive each other the offenses, big or small that separate us. Since we are trying to be the children of God, why not act like our heavenly parent?

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Adapted From: Cecil E. Sherman, Cecil Sherman Formations Commentary: Matthew – Mark.
*Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of intercessory prayer, encouragement and exhortation of the Word of God and author of the ministry blog, For The Love of God. I live in Delta, Colorado with my beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom we affectionately call Bella.
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