I recently was asked to write a short devotional for a good friend, and I wanted to share a version of it with you all.
Forgiveness isn't something that our weak flesh finds itself doing automatically. We would rather see justice done in the situation before we let off our hard feelings toward the person who wronged us. In Matthew 18, Peter asked Jesus a question that we all have wondered: How many times must we forgive? Part of Jesus' answer was the parable of a servant who couldn't repay his master 10,000 talents, and was about to be sold until he could repay the debt. I am always intrigued by the amounts used in parables, since they are representative of reality. According to People's New Testament Commentary, 10,000 talents is worth 7.5 million dollars in today's money! Not only that, but 10,000 talents is (according to Adam Clarke's Commentary) the "highest number known in Greek arithmetical notation"! Even working for his entire life as a slave with his whole family, he wouldn't be able to begin paying that back, since the average worker made the equivalent of about 14 cents a day! (Source: Albert Barnes NT Commentary) Still think he could have paid that back? Yet, the master forgave him the entire debt, which caused the would-be slave to be free. But when the servant saw one of his fellow servants, he remembered that he owed him some money, 14 dollars to be exact (or 100 days wages), and had failed to repay. So he sent him to prison, until he could pay him back, regardless of the servant's plea for mercy.
Remember also, that it is true that the man owed him 14 dollars and he hadn't paid him back. This to any person would seem like a legitimate reason for punishment or at least unforgiveness. However, when the master heard of this, he put that servant in prison until he should repay the enormous sum of money. Christ ends the parable with these words: "So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses" (Matthew 18:35). It is interesting that Jesus applied the highest number known in Greek arithmetical notation to our debt that we owe God for breaking His law. Every person has broken God's law in one part or another, and we are to be given the highest punishment for it--eternal death. Yet, Jesus already paid this debt for us, if we only believe! But when we see one who did us wrong, it only seems justifiable to hold it against them. But God looks at this as holding 14 dollars against someone, since He already forgave us the largest debt that we could have. If we hold this against our brother, God will hold against us our sin as well. We must be willing to forgive always no matter how many times we have been wronged so that we can experience Christ's forgiveness for our enormous debt of sin.