The apostle Peter had a question about forgiveness. When he asked Jesus how many times a person should be forgiven, Jesus told the story of a king who wanted to settle his accounts. The first man brought before the king owed millions of dollars. Facing imprisonment, the debtor begged for leniency. The king showed pity and let him go. The man left the king’s presence with great relief but forgot to transfer the gift of mercy.
Leaving the palace, the debtor ran into a man who owed him some money—just a few dollars— and he lit into the guy demanding payment and ignoring the pleas for grace. So he had the man thrown into prison. Word got back to the king, who had the debtor brought back into his presence and then thrown into prison too. Our passage today explains the king’s reasoning.
Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’
The lesson of the parable is this: How can we, who have been shown the great grace of God, not transfer that grace to others? Or better, in Jesus’ words, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart” (Matthew 18:35 NIV). The application is clear. To whom do you need to extend grace and forgiveness today?
Father, may we, as grace-receivers, always be grace-givers. In Jesus’ name. Amen.