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Forgiven All
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 • Posted January 20, 2009

I encourage you to carefully read Matthew 18:21-35. I do not have the space to include the entire text here, so it will it would benefit you to know the story before you read on. Our subject is forgiveness. Many people come up with great excuses for why they just “can’t” forgive someone or something, like it is out of their control. However, this is Biblically not true. If we are commanded to forgive by God, then it is possible to forgive all. If it wasn’t, God would not be just in commanding it, would He? I’m sure there are people reading this who have truly had awful experiences, and I don’t at all want to sound unsympathetic. My heart goes out to you. Nevertheless, according to this story, as well as other passages of Scripture, there are no exceptions in this area. Let’s look into this story in God’s Word.

In vs. 21, Peter thought he was being generous when he said seven times. It was a maxim among the Jews that you didn’t have to forgive more than three times, so seven was more than double! However, Jesus let Peter know that he just didn’t get it. In saying 490 times, Jesus was saying there is no limit to forgiveness. There is no cut off point. You forgive all.

Commentators give different numbers on 10,000 talents; but it could be in the ballpark of $3 billion if it was silver, and $7 billion if it was gold. It certainly would be in the multiple millions, so the point is - he could NEVER pay it back . We have a debt of sin that we could never pay for, but thank God Jesus paid it for us!

We have a hard time understanding vs. 25 in our society today, but this was an acceptable practice at the time (Ex 22:1-4). There was no filing for bankruptcy, and there was no “bailouts”. If you could not pay your debts, the creditors could take your wife, your kids, your house, your business - and then throw you in prison forever. This guy was in SERIOUS trouble. So he did what most of us would do - he begged and pleaded for forgiveness, claiming he would pay it back (vs. 26), and by the mercy and grace of the king (“because thou desired it“, vs. 32), he received it (vs. 27) {Ps 145:8}.

You would hope the moral of this story would be this servant going forth in life, never forgetting the unpayable debt he was forgiven - and giving to others what he freely received, which was complete forgiveness. Unfortunately, this is not the case. He went out and found a fellow servant who owed him something between $20, and three months pay.

While it may take a little time to pay it back, it was possible. Yet, this guy, who was just forgiven an unpayable debt, started to strangle his fellow servant and demand his money! He even had him thrown into prison! “Unthinkable!” you say. “Unbelievable!” you say, and well you should. But may I ask, who or what are you strangling with unforgiveness in your life, when you have been forgiven all? Are you not this wicked servant (vs. 32)? This word wicked was translated “evil” 52 times. Notice this servant was called wicked or evil because he did not forgive. We don’t see that as a “big” sin, do we? After all, it’s not murder, right? There are many things that God sees as sin, that we like to glance over - such as unforgiveness.

Make sure you don’t curse yourself when you pray The Lord’s prayer. Do really want God to forgive you IN THE SAME WAY (vs. 33) that you forgive others (Mt 6:12)? Some of you might want to consider that. We are to be merciful, because our Father is merciful to us (Lk 6:36). We are to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving - because God is that way towards us (Eph 4:32). We are to walk in love, because Christ loves us (Eph 5:1-2). We are to forbear and forgive each other, just as Christ has done for us (Col 3:13).

I thank God, that when I have the slightest temptation to harbor unforgiveness, God speaks to my heart so clearly, “J.D., remember - you’ve been forgiven all”. Indeed I have. Although I have been done wrong in my life, I have not even come close to being wronged like Jesus was. I haven’t been completely innocent, like Jesus was. I have not physically, emotionally, and spiritually suffered - like Jesus did. Compared to the cross, what petty thing in my life can I not forgive? If Jesus can go through what He did, and still say, “Father, forgive them…” - how can I do any less?

Don’t be delivered to the tormentors. Forgiveness is for your freedom and peace. God doesn’t want his kids to be destroyed by unforgiveness (and it will destroy you, in more ways than one). Be free. Let God take care of it. In the end, no one gets away with anything. Don’t waste your life in unforgiveness. I pray this has helped you. Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!

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