Sunday, September 17, 2017

Matthew 18:21-35

21 Peter finally worked up enough nerve to ask Jesus about how forgiveness fits into the discussion of reconciliation. He said to him, “Lord, just how many times should I extend forgiveness to a sibling who wrongs me? Seven times?”

22 Jesus responded, “I’m telling you that while seven sounds like a generous number -- don’t stop there. No, keep forgiving until you’ve done it 77 gazillion times.

23 “So, the regime headquartered in heaven can be somewhat analogous to a king who decided that he needed to collect the money the administrators in his service owed him. 24 As we went through his records he confronted a certain administrative servant who owed him millions of dollars. 25 Because the servant couldn’t pay up, the king ordered that he should be sold into slavery -- along with his wife and children. He also ordered that everything the servant owned should be sold in order to pay off what he owed. 26 However, the servant groveled on the ground before the king, ‘Please, I beg you, be patient with me -- I’ll pay you.’ 27 The king felt sorry for the servant and with compassion he released him from custody -- and then he even forgave the debt.

28 “Upon his release that very same servant went out and found one of his co-workers -- a man who owed him a few dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded, ‘Pay up!’

29 “Then the desperate co-worker groveled on the ground before him and begged, ‘Be patient with me -- I’ll pay you.’ 30 But the first servant had no pity and refused. Instead, he threw his co-worker into debtor’s prison to be held until the debt could be paid.

31 “Now, some other servants working for the king saw what had happened and were disturbed at the injustice of it all. They brought a full report of the situation to the king. 32 He in turn, summoned the first servant and said, ‘You wicked servant! When you appealed to me I forgave you the millions that you owed. 33 In the same way that I had mercy on you, shouldn’t you also have mercy on your co-worker?’

34 The king continued with his fury and handed him over to the guard responsible for torturing prisoners -- with whom the servant would remain until he could pay the whole of his original debt.

35 “My heavenly Father will also hold you to account if you fail to extend to others the forgiveness you have received from me. For if you can’t find it in your heart to forgive, your heart has rejected the forgiveness that I have extended to you.”