Daily Word

Forgive as forgiven | Matthew 18:23-35

23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven [v] may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him [w] ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 But since he [x] 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. 26 So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’ 27 And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the [y] debt.

28 But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred [z] denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’ 30 But he was unwilling [aa] and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. 31 So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened.

32 Then summoning him, his lord *said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ 34 And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. 35 My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from [ab] your heart.”

Matthew 18:23-35 (NASB)

Staggering debt

Having just talked about forgiveness, Jesus provides this parable to drive the point home. The situation He describes sounds like a sudden decision by the king to settle accounts which would explain why the slave didn’t have the money on hand and promised to pay in full. No wonder, this was a huge sum of money. A talent was worth more than fifteen years’ wages of a laborer. The typical US household earnings is $61,937 (motleyfool.com). 10,000 of them would be $619M today! The actual amount isn’t as important as the magnitude. Jesus again used hyperbole to drive home his teaching.

Price of forgiveness

Forgiveness comes at a price. Someone has to pay. The guilty offender is usually the one, like in the legal system. In personal relationships (and Heavenly ones), the offended pays (or can elect to pay). They pay by, as we shared yesterday, letting go of the judgment, to not punish the offender. Well if they hurt someone in some way, the offended releases them and doesn’t seek revenge or recompense. Is it just? In the case of our Heavenly Father, yes, for someone else paid the penalty, suffered the punishment. We know that to be our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Forgive as forgiven

Though this parable provides many teaching points, (like we all like the wicked slave; we have a sin debt we can’t pay), we can’t miss the main point. Which is? Forgive as we’ve been forgiven. And if we don’t we run the risk of not being forgiven. And I would say reflects an unrepentant heart of a non-believer, not the loss of salvation. Jesus already talked about this in Matthew 6:14-15 and we covered it in this post.


  • Have you repented and trusted Christ for the payment of your debt of sin against God? We all indeed have a debt that is impossible to pay since we are sinful by nature and our holy God’s standard is higher than any good work we can perform.  Click here to learn more.
  • When the topic of forgiveness comes up, do you immediately think of a person who’s offended you and you have yet to forgive? Or maybe you cringe since you know you should do it but don’t know how or, you fear the unknown. Be certain that you not just should forgive, you must forgive, we must! Read our previous post or one of these articles.
Police tape caution. Image from Pxfuel.com

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