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  • Writer's pictureEster Fernandes-Da Silva


Throughout my life, I have heard many reasons why I should forgive those who have hurt me. People would say, "Forgiving will expedite your healing. “It will make you feel better, or forgiveness will free you from those who hurt you.” All these were, somehow, good reasons to forgive. However, it made me feel like I was giving into a beggar for selfish reasons other than love. None of it was enough reason for me to "LET GO."

One day, while meditating on what Scripture says about forgiveness and why we forgive, I came to my senses. I realized we do not forgive our debtors for our own reasons. I forgive my debtor because God, through Christ, had compassion on me, released and forgave me of my unpayable debt.

            In Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus instructed his disciples about forgiveness. He compared the Kingdom of Heaven to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. During the settlement, a servant was brought to the king, who owed him an infinite amount of money. Since he could not pay, the king commanded that he, his family, and all he had was to be sold for payment. However, the servant fell before the king and begged his Master, saying, "Have patience with me, and I will pay you all." The king was "moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt." When this servant left the presence of his Master, he encountered his fellow servant who owed him an amount of about three months' wages. "He laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, pay me what you owe." His fellow servant fell at his feet and begged him to be patient with him, for he would pay him his debt. However, he refused to show patience and compassion to his fellow servant; "he threw him in prison till he should pay the debt." When the king heard what happened, his Master called for him and "said, You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I pitied you?"

            The forgiveness of the Master towards his servant pictures God's generous, compassionate forgiveness to a pleading sinner, you and I, who owe Him an unpayable debt for violating His law. We all owe God an unpayable debt, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). We are thus under sentence of death (Rom. 6:23). However, through Christ's sacrificial death on the cross, God completely erased our certificate of indebtedness, for Christ has nailed it to the cross (Col. 2:14), and made our forgiveness complete.

            Throughout Scripture, we are ordained to forgive "as God in Christ forgave us." Christ Himself taught us to pray as "forgive us our debts, as we forgave our debtors" (Matthew 6:12). Learning from our Master to forgive as He forgave us is so essential that in Matthew 18:34, Jesus finished his instruction about forgiveness by stating that the king was so angry with his servant for not forgiving his fellow servant, that He delivered him to the torturers "until he should pay all that was due to him." Remember, his debt was an incomprehensible, infinite amount.

God forgave us our unpayable debt. In the same way, we are the recipients of God's forgiveness in Christ. We are also called to forgive as He has forgiven us. Refusing to show the same compassion and forgiveness to our debtors who owe us incomparably less debt than we owe God, we become like the wicked servant. Paul stated, "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you" (Eph. 4:32). We do not forgive our debtors so we can be free or healed. We forgive them because in Christ, we are forgiven, and in him, we are free. For this reason, we extend the same grace to others.

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