The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn't pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market. The poor wretch threw himself at the king's feet and begged, “Give me a chance and I'll pay it all back.” Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt. The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, “Pay up. Now!” The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, “Give me a chance and I'll pay it all back.” But he wouldn't do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king. The king summoned the man and said, “You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn't you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?” The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt. (Matthew 18:23-34, MSG)
As we dive deep into learning about our relationships with this Love at Last Sight series, we must consider one of the most challenging things for us as humans to do—to forgive. In Matthew 18:23-34 Jesus makes it quite clear what our responsibilities are regarding forgiveness, and He shows us our responsibility in light of what God has already done for us. You see, through Jesus we have been forgiven: completely and unreservedly forgiven. Jesus took the stained dirty life that I had to offer and washed me clean and made my life white as snow through His sacrifice. In His mercy my past, present, and future is forgiven; that is God’s amazing grace.
With that in mind, we read in Matthew 18 an example for us to emulate in our relationships with our spouses, our families, our friends, our acquaintances, and yes, even the people we don’t really care for all that much. The servant was forgiven a huge debt, yet he was unwilling to forgive the small debt that was owed to him, going so far as to treat his fellow servant harshly and have him thrown in prison.
God is very clear that our responsibility with those we have harmed is to seek forgiveness and resolution;
This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God. (Matthew 5:23-24, MSG)
God is equally clear that our responsibility with those that have harmed us is to forgive completely and unreservedly.
Today, as you consider your relationships, as you seek to be all there for the people surrounding you, consider Jesus’ example of the forgiven servant and seek forgiveness from those you have harmed and offer forgiveness to those that have harmed you.