Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
— Matthew 18:21-25 ESV

transformed by mercy

Peter opens up the door for this parable by trying to gain favor with Jesus by suggesting a generous amount of forgiveness, as many as seven times! Jesus quickly corrects him by saying to forgive seventy-seven times, and He continues with the story of a king and his servants. The first servant owes the king ten thousand talents, but after asking for mercy, he is granted forgiveness for the debt. The servant then turns around and punishes a fellow servant who owed him significantly less. The first servant is ultimately given away to the jailers. According to the king, the one who receives mercy should be transformed into showing mercy. 

God forgave our debt anyway

We are the first servant. We owe an incredible debt. One talent is the equivalent of about 20 years wages, so ten thousand times that (about $6 billion) is a debt that cannot be repaid. The servant even goes so far as to promise to repay the debt, an impossible task. We often try the same thing, to pay back an immeasurable debt to God by our works. We are not capable of coming even close, yet God forgives us our debt anyway. Often times, we forget this though, just as the servant did. He was owed 100 denarii (about $12,000) and did not forgive, and in turn he was condemned by the King. We should identify completely with the first servant, because there are countless times where we fail to forgive others - even though we have been granted an unbelievable amount of mercy. 

we are called to forgive

Since we are forgiven, we are called to forgive. We have been pardoned for an incredible debt, so how could we not forgive others? When we understand to what degree we are forgiven, that should transform our hearts to grant mercy to those who wrong us. It can be easy to think, "This doesn't apply to me. I've been hurt badly. I've been wronged countless times in horrific ways." Jesus knows this, that we might be wronged severely by others. The second servant didn't just owe a couple dollars; $12,000 is tough to pay back! Jesus didn't say this only applies to small sins against us. Jesus says even if the debt we're owed is a lot, even if we are sinned against greatly, we are to forgive because of the degree that we have been forgiven. How could we not? 

-Hunter MacInnis