These first several days’ passages are all about what Jesus says about our seeking the kingdom. In later sections, we’ll hear more about what the kingdom is like, and I hope you’ll continue on to them, because hearing about the awesomeness of the kingdom will motivate you to do what it says in this challenging passage!
Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a certain king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. And when he had begun to settle them, there was brought to him one who owed him ten thousand talents. But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. The slave therefore falling down, prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will repay you everything.’ And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ So his fellow slave fell down and began to entreat him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will pay you.’ He was unwilling, however, but went and threw him into prison until he should pay back what was owed. So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you entreated me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, even as I had mercy on you?’ And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. So shall My heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”
I am the last person who should be preaching to you about forgiveness. The worst thing I can think of that someone did to me was when a landlady to whom we had paid all our rent on time wouldn’t sign the paper so we could get a loan to buy a house, even though the reason we had to move out was that she wanted to move back in. Thankfully, her daughter had the ability to sign papers for her, and she took care of us. Until that point, though, I was furious.
But some people have much worse offenders in their lives. So if you do too, take it from them, not from me. You can forgive. My mother-in-law got baptized at almost 60 years old and forgave her childhood abusers. Corrie and Bessie Ten Boom (PLEASE read The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom) forgave the guards in their concentration camps. Jesus, for heaven’s sake, forgave the men driving nails through his hands. They don’t know what they’re doing, he said. (Luke 23:34) While he was still on the cross!
You hear a lot of people talking about how you should forgive because it’s not healthy to go around angry. But Jesus says it’s more than that. It’s more than making our current life more pleasant. It’s about our eternal life. Forgive because you have been forgiven. Forgive in order to accept Jesus’s forgiving you. God help us!
Today’s phrase I’ll use to replace any worry thought is FORGIVEN AND FORGIVING TO ENTER THE KINGDOM. Is that what you’ll use, too?
*New American Standard Bible verses used in the paperback version of this devotional with permission from The Lockman Foundation.