One of Jesus’ parables in Matthew 18 starts with a “certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.” One owed an enormous debt that he couldn’t pay and didn’t have much chance of ever being able to pay. So he “fell down before [the king], saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’” (Quotes from New King James) How like us! We don’t understand the magnitude of our debt, so we think we can pay God back if we just have time—perhaps with good works or human righteousness. Or we forget God’s forgiveness and treat others as though we had been forgiven nothing. How gracious of God to keep reminding us!
I ached to punish a particular co-worker for deliberately withholding information I needed. As a fellow worker in a situation requiring communication skills, I felt unappreciated, angry and disrespected.
Then the old song “Lead Me to Calvary” came to mind. The chorus is a request that we be brought back to the cross of Jesus so we won’t forget Christ’s love for us that brought Him unimaginable agony and a cruel death. I thought about Jesus enduring that to pay the price for my sin and reminded myself that I had been forgiven much.
Matthew 18: 24-35 tells of a man who owed the equivalent of millions of dollars to a king. When he asked for time to pay it back, he was forgiven the entire debt instead. However, when a fellow servant who owed him a couple of months’ wages asked for time, the king’s former debtor showed that person no mercy and had him jailed. Like that forgiven man, I wanted to punish a person who had offended me very slightly compared to how much I’ve offended God.
Since the debt for my sin was paid by Jesus Himself, the least I can do is forgive others for their human failings. So now my prayer is, Thank You, Father, for teaching me about forgiveness. May I be quick to forgive all my fellow servants. Amen.