The Bible has a lot to say about forgiveness but sometimes it’s easy to just gloss over what it is saying without it really sinking into our hearts.
A good example is the story of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:23-35. To recap, a man who owed 10,000 talents was brought before the king. He was unable to pay it and begged for mercy. The king had mercy and forgave the debt, that is he cancelled it. Though the debt was forgiven, the man went out to collect from another man who owed him 100 silver coins. That man too begged for mercy but he did not have mercy, instead he had him thrown into prison. Though he had been forgiven much, he had no mercy on those who owed him.
What usually escapes us is the enormity of the first man’s debt.
How much is ten thousand talents? One silver talent is the amount needed to pay a day’s wage to 6,000 people. So for 10,000 talents you could hire 60 million people for a day. Or, you could hire more than 164,000 people for a whole year, or 656,000 people for 3 months. (Ands if these were gold talents, multiply all of the above by 30.)
How much is 100 silver coins? A day’s wage for 100 people.
That man’s ENORMOUS debt was forgiven, canceled. And he was worried about a measly 3 months wage for only one person????
That is a picture of us. God has forgiven us of a debt of offense we could never pay. So how then can we dare hold ANY grudge against ANYBODY?
Think about that the next time you start feeling offended!
Matthew 18:23-35 (NET-Rosa’s modified version)
23 “For this reason, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 As he began settling his accounts, a man who owed [money equivalent to a day’s wage for 60 million people] was brought to him. 25 Because he was not able to repay it, the lord ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, children, and whatever he possessed, and repayment to be made. 26 Then the slave threw himself to the ground before him, saying, ‘Be patient with me, and I will repay you everything.’ 27 The lord had compassion on that slave and released him, and forgave him the debt. 28 After he went out, that same slave found one of his fellow slaves who owed him [money equivalent to a day’s wage for 100 people]. So he grabbed him by the throat and started to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ 29 Then his fellow slave threw himself down and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will repay you.’ 30 But he refused. Instead, he went out and threw him in prison until he repaid the debt. 31 When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were very upset and went and told their lord everything that had taken place. 32 Then his lord called the first slave and said to him, ‘Evil slave! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me! 33 Should you not have shown mercy to your fellow slave, just as I showed it to you?’ 34 And in anger his lord turned him over to the prison guards to torture him until he repaid all he owed. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to you, if each of you does not forgive your brother from your heart.”