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. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” —Matthew 18:21-35

We will be a lot more apt to forgive the more we understand what the Lord has forgiven us! Let us think of the magnitude of our sin. One sin, the first disobedience in the Garden of Eden, impacted all of creation. It is estimated that our universe is 100,000 light years across— a light year being the distance light travels in a year— 5,865,696,000,000 miles. Think of the corruptive and destructive nature of sin. That one sinful act in the Garden of Eden affected the most distance reaches of creation and all of it (Romans 8:19-22; II Peter 3:13; Revelation 21-1). And what is it that we cannot forgive another person?

It is staging to consider what God has forgiven us from and saved us to. For those who believe, in the ages to come He is going to “show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:7). We need to ponder the immense sinful debt we could never in all eternity pay, but that Jesus did that for us. How awesome is that? Now let us not be like the wicked servant in the parable above who was not willing to forgive another after he had been forgiven an enormous debt impossible for him to ever pay back. No, let us be quick to forgive.

Dear Father, I am overwhelmed when I think of the debt of sin You have forgiven me because of Jesus’ payment for me. Oh, out of the gratitude of my heart may I be quick to forgive and live a life that is pleasing to You in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.

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