Jesus shared the parable of a servant who owed ten talents to a King who wished to settle his accounts. “And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made” (Matthew 18:25). The servant fell on his knees and begged the King to have mercy on him and give him time to make the payment. The King conceded and agreed to forgive him the debt. After this conversation with the King, the servant met a fellow servant who owed him significantly less. The servant owed him just one hundred denarii. Now one talent is 6,000 denarii so he was forgiven by the King for a lot more.
The fellow servant begged him to give him time to repay. The servant started choking the fellow servant and demanded that he pay and when he could not pay, had him put in prison until he could pay. Other servants saw what this unforgiving servant did and reported him to the master. “Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me” (Matthew 18:32). The master scolded the servant that he should have had mercy on his fellow servant in the same way that he had been shown mercy. The King was so angry that he had the servant thrown in jail until he could pay his debt.
“So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:35). Jesus shared this parable with Peter in response to his question about forgiveness. He told Peter that we need to forgive each other seventy times seven. We forgive because God has forgiven us and has placed all of our sins into the sea of forgetfulness and remembers them no more. God does not hold our past against us, neither does he hold unto what we have done.
Forgiveness is not easy and we have to forgive people who are not even sorry about what they did. We do not forgive for the benefit of that other person, but we forgive to set ourselves free from bitterness. Holding unto bitterness is allowing the person to continue to hurt us over and over again. This is because bitterness and resentment harms us and not the person who we are angry toward.
“and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12).