What It Means to Forgive

by Eric Dunbar
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25

The Bible tells us that whenever we pray, if we have anything against anyone, that we should forgive them, that our Father in heaven may also forgive you of your offenses. It goes on to say that if we do not forgive someone, our Father in heaven will not forgive our wrongs done to Him.

One day Peter went to Jesus and asked Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?” Jesus told him that he should forgive him as many times as he offended him. Jesus wanted Peter to understand what it means to forgive, so He gave Peter an illustration of what it means to forgive in the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant.

In this parable there was a certain king who demanded payment from his servants. As this king was settling accounts with his servants, there was one servant who owed him ten thousand talents. Now one talent is the equivalent of 16 years wages. So ten thousand talents is the equivalent of 160,000 years wages, a debt that no one can repay, as no one lives that long. Unable to pay the debt that he owed, the king commanded that the servant be sold, with his wife and children and everything that he had.

When the servant heard the judgment, he fell down before the king and begged him for mercy. Then the king was moved with compassion and forgave him of his debt.

But that servant left the presence of the king and found a fellow servant who owed him a hundred denarii — about a hundred days wages — and he grabbed his fellow servant by the throat and demanded that he pay him what he owed. So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him for mercy. But he would not forgive him, but instead he threw him in prison until the time of his debt had been paid.

So when his fellow servants saw what he had done, they went and told the king. Then the king sent for him and said to him, “You wicked servant! I forgave you of a debt that you could not pay because you asked me for mercy. You should have had mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you!” So the king threw him in prison until the time of his debt had been paid, which is in reality, forever!

When He had told this parable to  Peter he to him that His heavenly Father will do the same thing to him, if he does not forgive his brother of the wrongs done to him from his heart.

The “certain king” in this story is God — our heavenly Father. You see, we owe God a debt that is so great, we could never repay Him. We would have been put to death to make payment. But in His compassion for us, God — Jesus — traded places with us.

Don’t let your unforgiving heart prevent you from receiving God’s mercy. Forgive, that you may be forgiven.

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