Matthew 18:23-35 (ESV)

“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.

But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt.

When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt.

So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

A lot of people would say that money was the main theme in this passage, or debt, or even the lack of forgiveness. While all three were prevalent, I think we’ve missed out on something.

I believe that the first man, the one who owed a great debt, had no grasp of forgiveness whatsoever. I say that because I believe that the reason he went to his respective servant for 100 denarii was because he still felt the weight of the debt he owed, acted out of desperation and attacked his own servant asking them to pay what they owe.

The problem is, that the first servant (the one that owed 10,000 talents) did not trust in the forgiveness that was bestowed upon him. He didn’t even consider how debt forgiveness, grace, and mercy had been shown to him. All of that was taken for granted and immediately forgotten once he left the presence of the one who could have pressured this servant to repay his debt.

He then showed no grace, mercy, love, or forgiveness to someone who owed him very little money.

Goes to show you what money can do to some people. While righteous people are not ruled by money, the “wicked servant” was overpowered by it and did not even take responsibility for his own actions.

At the end of the story, the first servant was thrown into jail until he could pay off the debt. Sometimes this can be a literal prison in our lives, other times it can be that we are trapped in our anger, frustration, a lack of forgiveness, etc. and cause separation from Christ and the fruit of His spirit. That prison, that dark place where pride rules, is a hard place to get out of. It takes humility and it takes integrity.

Lastly I love how Jesus ends with “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”


He doesn’t waste time saying “it’s not just jail or earthly things you may have to deal with…it’s my father that will be talking to you.”

In all honesty I would fear God’s judgment of your heart and actions over any time in jail. God knows every “secret” part of you and if it is not exposed and dealt with…then things will just get worse.

Show forgiveness to others as forgiveness has been shown to you. Your debt was paid and your life was saved, so forgive others in this same way and accept responsibility for your actions. Don’t be like the first servant who had mountains of debt, yet was judging someone else who had just a few coins worth of debt. Accept the gravity of your own debt caused by sin before you judge others.

[Show Love.Show Grace.Show Mercy.Show Forgiveness]


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