The Danger Of An Unforgiving Spirit

It is written:

“Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22  Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23  Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24  And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25  But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26  The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27  Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. 28  “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29  So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 30  And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. 31  So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32  Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33  Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34  And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35  “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” (Matthew 18:21-35)

One of the most dangerous attitudes for a child of God to develop is a spirit of unforgiveness. Jesus clearly teaches us in this parable the need to forgive those who wrong us. When we break down the money figures that are employed in this passage, it is truly astonishing!

“The first servant owed his master 10,000 talents–and a talent was the equivalent of fifteen years’ wages. That is an incredible debt. It was more than the total budget of the ordinary province. The total revenue of the province which contained Idumaea, Judaea and Samaria was only 600 talents; the total revenue of even a wealthy province like Galilee was only 300 talents. Against that background, this debt is staggering. It was this that the servant was forgiven. The debt which a fellow servant owed him was a trifling thing; it was 100 denarii, and a denarius was the usual day’s wage for a working man. It was therefore a mere fraction of his own debt. The biblical scholar A. R. S. Kennedy drew this vivid picture to contrast the debts. Suppose they were paid in small coins (he suggested sixpences; we might think in terms of 5-pence pieces or dimes). The 100-denarii debt could be carried in one pocket. The 10,000-talent debt would take an army of about 8,600 carriers to carry it, each carrying a sack of coins 60 lb in weight; and they would form, at a distance of a yard apart, a line five miles long! The contrast between the debts is staggering. The point is that nothing that others can do to us can in any way compare with what we have done to God; and if God has forgiven us the debt we owe to him, we must forgive our neighbours the debts they owe to us.” (William Barclay, Insights: Forgiveness 233-245 (Kindle Edition); Edinburgh, England; Saint Andres Press)

Are you holding a grudge against someone in your life? Dear friend, bitterness and unforgiveness will cost you your soul. Forgive that person in your life. If you need help to forgive, then seek the Lord and He will help you (Romans 8:26).

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