Bible Society of South Africa
Ds Hein Barnard

Forgiveness – Day 16

The normal Jew needed to forgive a specific person only 3 times, according to the Rabbis. Peter asked if more than double that would be enough to forgive. Jesus answered Peter, followed by a parable.

Bible text(s)

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, if my brother keeps on sinning against me, how many times do I have to forgive him? Seven times?”

22“No, not seven times,” answered Jesus, “but seventy times seven, 23because the Kingdom of heaven is like this. Once there was a king who decided to check on his servants' accounts. 24He had just begun to do so when one of them was brought in who owed him millions of pounds. 25The servant did not have enough to pay his debt, so the king ordered him to be sold as a slave, with his wife and his children and all that he had, in order to pay the debt. 26The servant fell on his knees before the king. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay you everything!’ 27The king felt sorry for him, so he forgave him the debt and let him go.

28“Then the man went out and met one of his fellow-servants who owed him a few pounds. He grabbed him and started choking him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he said. 29His fellow-servant fell down and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back!’ 30But he refused; instead, he had him thrown into jail until he should pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were very upset and went to the king and told him everything. 32So he called the servant in. ‘You worthless slave!’ he said. ‘I forgave you the whole amount you owed me, just because you asked me to. 33You should have had mercy on your fellow-servant, just as I had mercy on you.’ 34The king was very angry, and he sent the servant to jail to be punished until he should pay back the whole amount.”

35And Jesus concluded, “That is how my Father in heaven will treat every one of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

Matthew 18:21-35GNBOpen in Bible reader

Forgiveness in the Gospels – 3

We have often been hurt by the same person more than once.  We reach a point that we do not want to forgive that person anymore, for various valid human reasons.  Many hurts often result in broken relationships that seem impossible to reconcile and heal.  Where do we draw the line?

Jesus responded that we should be forgiving without keeping track of how often it is done.  An unwillingness to forgive shows that that person has, in his/her own heart, not yet experienced the amazing grace of God’s unconditional forgiveness.

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