Forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35)

If there’s one New Year’s resolution you could make and keep, it would be forgiveness. It is the unity of believers that invites God’s presence. Jesus makes the point to Peter that our forgiveness toward others must be limitless. Forgiveness is the greatest gift you will ever give yourself. We are to forgive and to love as Christ loves us. Jesus uses a parable about a servant who owed a debt he could never possibly repay (10,000 talents), just as we owe a debt for our sin we can never possibly repay. (Also, the decisions we make will affect those around us either positively or negatively. So it is with our sin.)

The servant begs his master for patience, who is moved with compassion and forgives him the entire debt. And this is exactly what the gospel of Jesus Christ does for us. Unfortunately, the same servant fails to forgive a fellow servant a much smaller debt. When you fail to forgive you literally choke the life out of yourself — sitting down with someone you hate, drinking poison, and hoping the other person dies of it.

Real character is when we are in a position of authority and someone has to ask us for forgiveness. When we’re bitter and upset, we tend to make poor decisions. Bitter people aren’t correct-thinking. We make dumb decisions when we don’t forgive other people. And so the first servant was dragged back before his master and was called a “wicked servant,” and was once again saddled with his debt.

Bitterness has destroyed many in the body of Christ. People who have been offered forgiveness must forgive others. Otherwise, you will be delivered to a self-made torture chamber. It is unforgiveness that dams up the flow of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. God doesn’t have to forgive us. He chooses to. And we must make that same choice toward others.

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