Matthew 18:21-35 (KJV)

21Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
22Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Forgiveness can be defined as letting go of both resentment and the right to return hurt.

On the other hand, unforgiveness demands that the guilty one pay for the wrong he or she did.

According to these definitions, unforgiveness looks very much like justice, and forgiveness seems inequitable.

That’s why we have such a hard time with it. Forgiveness goes against our natural sense of fair play. Yet God calls us to forgive those who don’t deserve it!

To avoid offering a pardon, we dwell on the wrongdoing until our desire to retaliate seems totally justified.

Convinced of our right to be angry, we demand repayment, thinking,

Releasing a person from deserved punishment is unfair!

The Father faced the same dilemma.

All humanity had sinned and deserved eternal separation from Him. He couldn’t simply forgive sin arbitrarily, because He’d then cease being just.

Our forgiveness is possible only because divine justice was satisfied by the Son’s payment for our sins.

As a result of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, God is free to righteously forgive us.

When we accepted the Lord’s forgiveness, we gave up all rights to hold anything against anyone else.

An unforgiving heart is miserable because it is far from God, who is the source of all peace and joy.

Does the thought or sight of someone arouse harsh feelings within you?

Holding onto a grievance will keep you imprisoned in emotional turmoil, but letting go will set you free.

Christ has provided the key of forgiveness.

Take hold of it, unlock the door, and walk out into the light.

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