“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15
In the Bible, forgiveness is essential. There is a kind of forgiveness God grants to sinners that relates to salvation. Another kind is forgiving of one another. Both of them are tightly connected. Jesus showed the connection between the two when He answered Peter’s question about how many times we should forgive someone. Jesus answered we must forgive as many times as that person apologizes, Luke 17:3-4. Jesus then continued by giving a parable that explains the principle of God’s Kingdom on forgiveness.
In that parable, there was a servant who owed his master 10,000 talents, Matthew 18:23-24. It was said that because this servant was not able to pay off his debt, the master commanded that he be sold as a slave. However, this servant begged for his master to have patience with him because he will make an effort to pay off his debt. Because of his servant’s attitude, the master was moved with compassion and forgave him of his debt. From this parable, there is an important principle – if a person is in debt, someone else can forgive them by paying it off in full amount.
In this parable, the servant represents humans, the master represents God and debt represents the sins committed. The sins people commit before God are so great that it is impossible to pay them off. But when people repent, God will forgive them and wash away all of their sins. However, God does not only wash away the sins; as the God of Justice, He has to pay the price under their names. This is what the Lord Jesus did when He came to this world as man and died on the cross to redeem our sins. By this, mankind receives forgiveness and salvation!
Going back to the parable, the servant who was in debt returned home after he was forgiven. On his way home, he met one of his fellow servants who owed him 100 denarii. This servant forced his friend to pay off his debt. His friend begged him the same way he begged his master earlier. However, this servant refused to forgive him and put him in prison. Hearing this, the master became angry and ended up putting this servant away in prison. Jesus closed the parable with this: “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. Someone might commit a serious sin toward us, but compared to our sins, the sins of others are not comparable. If we refuse to forgive, we are basically making what Jesus did for us seem meaningless. That is why God asks that we forgive others. This is not a choice, but a command. Therefore, let us always live in forgiveness. Amen.
Source: GBI Gatot Subroto, Jakarta Bulletin