Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
(Matthew 18:21-22 ESV)
Jesus followed this interaction with Peter by sharing what we now know as the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35).
Here was the situation.
A king forgave his servant for what would equate to, in our day, a million dollar debt. This was more than any average person, let alone a servant, could produce for repayment. The king, out of compassion, kindness, and beautiful mercy forgave the entire debt, and not on the grounds of repayment either. The king knew this servant could never repay the money owed, yet he forgave him anyway. The narrative is gracious and wonderful. What a wonderful king!
But here’s the servant’s response: straight away, this forgiven man found a coworker of his who owed him just a fraction of what he had been pardoned from repaying the king. He grabbed him by the throat, and demanded he be repaid the money owed him. When that man begged patience, just as the forgiven servant had, “he refused and…put him in prison”!
The point here was this; we as God’s forgiven, redeemed, and reconciled cannot take the forgiveness of a bottomless debt from God’s hand, and then with our own hands demand repayment from those who owe us, or have wronged us. While this does not mean that we become a doormat for those who would walk all over us, it means that we do not live like the unregenerate servant who did not understand and appreciate the debt that had been forgiven of him.
Is there someone who you have not forgiven for the wrong they have done to you? Ask God to remind you of the debt He has forgiven of you.