In Matthew 18:21-35, we find an eternal promise of judgment upon unmerciful, unforgiving believers. Here’s an excerpt:
“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.”
Jesus’ lesson is about a servant who was in debt to His master to the point of bankruptcy. The master was about to collect and it meant he would lose everything. But the servant begs the master for mercy and the master erases the servants massive debt. The servant in this parable is you and I. Our debts are the many sins we have committed against God and others. We can’t ever do enough to remove our sins and escape the penalty of death on our own. But when we come to Jesus and ask forgiveness, He immediately forgives us (wipes away our debt), restores us (gives us a perfect credit score), and gives us grace and the Holy Spirit (money in the bank). He wants us to prosper, spiritually speaking.
But what happens next in the parable is unexpected. The servant who received extravagant mercy from his master turned around and dealt cruelly with someone you owed him a few hundred dollars. This could be someone who has sinned against in the slightest compared the mountain of sin God forgave us of. How easy it is to hold others in unforgiveness when they sin against us just a little bit, but how much we ask God to keep forgiving us. How often did Jesus say to forgive others? Once? Seven times? No, He told us to forgive seventy times seven. Not literally “490 times and that’s it!”, but figuratively as if to say “be merciful and don’t stop forgiving one another!”
Can you see yourself as the first servant, who’s debt (of sin) was incomprehensible? If we’re not careful, we can forget just how much we’ve been forgiven by our Heavenly Father. Therefore, forgive freely and frequently, just as He has forgiven you.