Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
Matthew 18:21-27 NIV
Read the whole parable here.
It is for our good that we love others the way God loves us. In these verses, Jesus explains that forgiveness is a massive deal to God. Peter is asking Jesus what the standard of forgiveness looks like; but Jesus says to Peter that there is no limit to how much we forgive, only that choose to do it. Just like the master canceled the servant‘s debt, we must cancel the debt that we believe others owe us. When we choose forgiveness, we choose the Kingdom of Heaven. When we choose unforgiveness, we are choosing to let pain and hurt have power over us.
Forgiveness leads to freedom. Whether we admit it or not, there have been experiences in our life that have hurt us. Whether they are caused by other people or ourselves, the reality is that wrongdoing takes place and it can be hard to move past it. Sometimes we think that moving past it means saying to ourselves “it’s okay” over and over again. However, the reason why we might not have gotten freedom from our hurt is because it actually isn’t okay. Being hurt was never God’s plan or intention for you. Though because He cancels our debt and paid the price in full, He gets to be the one who decides justice not you.
You are responsible for what happens inside of you as things happen to you. When you are hurt, it’s important that you acknowledge to Him that you are hurt, invite God into your process of forgiveness, and keep choosing forgiveness until you are no longer affected by what hurt you. This doesn’t mean you have to pursue or mend a relationship again. It just means that you let go of the idea that you are owed something in return, and trust that God will be your restorer and redeemer. He is good despite any circumstances, and loves you so much that He died to make your life whole. Give Him the chance to speak into your pain and He will clothe you in the abundance that you’ve been searching for.
Father, thank you that you are willing to cancel all my debt. Thank you that your love and mercy is indescribable. Give me eyes to see everyone in my life, including myself, the way you do. Allow me to replace bitterness with forgiveness, and take steps towards your freedom. Amen.
- Sarah C.