Summary: The Necessity of Forgiveness


1. Because God has forgiven me.

2. Because God gives me the strength to do so

How can I ever forgive you? You have hurt me for the last time! How many times have we heard or said these types of statements? In our Lord’s prayer we ask our heavenly Father to forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us, so how can we not want to forgive someone? Each Sunday when we pray the Lord’s prayer, have we become so numb that we do not think about what we are saying? Any time we feel that we are inclined to withhold our forgiveness this petition of the Lord’s Prayer should immediately stand out in our minds.

Jesus reminds us that God has forgiven us. Out of love for what our Savior has done for us, we are also to forgive others. Sadly, we are to eager to forget what Jesus has taught us. Peter missed this lesson as well. In our portion of God’s word, Jesus had to give Peter a lesson on what God requires when it comes to forgiveness. Just as God forgives us, we are to forgive others. So when we find ourselves asking, "How Can I Ever Forgive You?" We can say, "Because God has forgiven me, because God gives me the strength to do so.

Because God has forgiven me.

Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” For Peter to ask this question he must have thought that he was being very generous. The rabbinical teaching was that three times were sufficient to forgive. Imagine what Peter must have felt when Jesus told him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy seven times." Some Bible translations have seventy times seven, which comes out to four hundred ninety. The total amount here is not important. Jesus was not telling Peter that you have to forgive your brother 490 times and on 491 its okay not to. Jesus was telling Peter to forgive your brother every time he sins against you. It does not matter how often he sins against you. Think how many times God has forgiven you and me for the sins we commit on a daily basis. Think how many times we have disappointed our Heavenly Father when we fail to do what he has commanded us to do. Jesus uses a parable to explain this to us.

Our Lord tells us about a king and an unmerciful servant. The king is merciful to his servants just as God is merciful to us because of the sinless life, the innocent death, and the resurrection of Jesus. The king called together his servants in order to settle accounts with them.

One of these servants has a debt of 10,000 talents. A debt so large that he can never repay it. The debt of 10,000 talents in this time was a huge sum of money for a servant to owe. One talent = 5000 to 6000 denarii. A days wage for the servant is one denarius. For the servant to pay off his debt would take 139,000 years working 7 days a week and giving every penny he earned to the king.

Because of his debt, the servant was about to lose all that he loved and owned. The king had every right to do this. The servant borrowed the money and it was his responsibility to pay it back. Even today if we do not pay what we owe, our creditors have a legal right to repossess their property.

The king orders the servant to be put into prison and everything he has to be sold. This includes his wife, children, and all that he owned. The servant falls to his knees before the king and begs for forgiveness. The king forgives the unworthy servant his debt knowing that the servant can not repay it.

In the same way, our debt of sin to God is something that we can never pay. Just like the unmerciful servant, our situation is hopeless. Because of our debt of sin we stand to lose the greatest treasure in the world, eternity in heaven. We can never pay our debt to God. In fact it only becomes larger for we could never earn forgiveness as fast as we commit more sins. Our only hope is in the mercy of our gracious and loving God. And God has told us that He freely forgives us all of our sins for Jesus’ sake.

The king shows unlimited mercy to his servant by forgiving the debt just as God has shown his mercy to us. We all stand in the same position before God as that servant stood before his king. We deserve nothing but God’s wrath and punishment. We stand before God having committed such sins as withholding forgiveness, even contemplating revenge. Or perhaps we haven’t put God first. Have we taken time to study his word? Have we shared His word with others? Do we put God on hold because we are too busy with the idols of this world?

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