The Enormous Cost of Unforgiveness

From my Kingdom of Heaven study.

Matthew 18:23-35

I have to admit, I read and re-read this passage for several days. I posed many questions and don’t have all the answers.  But the one theme I seemed to settle upon was forgiveness, and the consequences if we as believers do not forgive.

Jesus is comparing the kingdom of heaven in this passage, and I’ll give you a little summary.  A king began to settle accounts with his servants, and he brought in a man who owed him what would be equivalent to 20 years’ wages multiplied by 10,000.  When the servant couldn’t pay and begged for mercy, the king had mercy on him and cancelled his debt.

Then this servant  found a fellow servant who owed him what would be equivalent to 100 days’ wages.  When this servant couldn’t pay, the first servant put him into prison.

Other servants found out about this atrocity on the part of the first servant, and they went and told the king.  The king became very angry and delivered the servant to the jailers (or “torturers”) until he could pay the debt. (Remember this was the massive, unpayable debt.)

Jesus summarizes, “So also my heavenly father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” (v. 35)

What struck me in this passage was the condition the unforgiving servant found himself in.  He was tortured unceasingly.

Is it possible that our Father allows us to be tortured in some way – I would think in spirit mostly – if we are harboring unforgiveness?

This servant clearly forgot the debt that he had been forgiven.  The point of this parable is that we as Christians (those who have accepted Jesus’ payment for our sins and have chosen to follow him with our whole heart) have been forgiven a debt that we cannot possibly pay.

Nothing that anyone does to us will ever compare to the debt Jesus paid for us. And if we refuse to forgive, we are the ones who will be in torment.

Father, search my heart. Show me if there is any unforgiveness there, and if there is, remind me of the enormous debt you paid for me. Give me strength to forgive. For there is no room for unforgiveness in your holy kingdom. Thank you for forgiving my massive debt providing freedom for me.

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