Forgiveness and Fellowship

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Matthew 18:23-35

This parable teaches the same lesson that Jesus taught in the model prayer in the Sermon on the Mount. We should only expect God’s forgiveness and close fellowship with Him if we are willing and obedient to forgive others and seek fellowship with them. The lesson being taught here is referring to fellowship with men and God here in time.

Each child of God has been forgiven a debt that absolutely could not be repaid. When we are offended by someone and will not forgive them, we need to consider how great a debt God forgave us in comparison to the small debt of offense someone has done to us.

One talent is equal to about 6,000 pence. One pence is equivalent to the pay for one day of labor. 6,000 pence would take 6,000 days (16 years) to pay off. So, how long would it take to pay off 10,000 talents of debt? 160,000 years. Impossible!

On the other hand, an offense between humans is equal to just 100 pence. That is about 100 days of work to pay off. 

That sounds quite large until you do a little math. 

Our personal offense is just .0625% of what we have done against God. However, our offense against God is far worse than a personal offense. Our fallen nature is an offense against God that is everlasting because our very heart is an enemy to God without His grace.

Forgiveness is commanded by God. Therefore, we should forgive. The consequence of unforgiveness is torment. That is a very strong word but it is the perfect description of the situation of a child of God who is not in fellowship with his heavenly Father. There is no peace. There is no comfort. There is no hope!

Oh, and by the way, don’t think too highly of yourself if you have forgiven. Consider what Jesus says in the gospel of Luke:

Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?  Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

Luke 17:3-10

The disciples thought the command to forgive was too difficult, so they asked for more faith. Jesus basically says you have the faith, use it. And in the end, just realize that you are only doing what you were told to do.

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