The man must have owed the king millions. The guards grabbed him one day while he was at work. They dragged him into the king’s court. He didn’t resist, for he knew why he was being summoned.
As he lay prostrate before the king, an attendant read a list of his debts. “Five and a half million dollars in taxes and penalties.” The amount sent chills up the man’s spine. He knew it was more than he could ever pay.
“Take this man, and throw him in jail,” ordered the king. “We will sell his land, his children and his wife to pay off his debt. Then, he will work as my slave for the rest of his life.”
The man began to weep. “Please be patient with me, king. I will pay back your debt. I love my family. Please do not take them away. I will do what it takes to pay you back.”
The king was moved with compassion by the man’s obvious cry for mercy. “Sir, I can see that your heart is broken. Today, let it be known that this man’s debt is canceled. Nothing shall be required of him. Send him home to his family. Sir, you are a free man.”
The man left for home free from his debts. As he crossed the street, he encountered one of his workers. In fact, this worker owed him 50 dollars. “Where’s my money? You’ve owed me 50 bucks for almost a year. I want it now!”
The poor servant cried out, “Oh master, I know I owe you this money. Please give me some time to pay you back.”
The man screamed, “No! I can’t wait any longer. Off to jail until you pay it all.”
One of the king’s workers saw all this, and was amazed at how this man reacted. Word got back to the king, and the king summoned this man back to his court. “Sir, I canceled your debt of millions, and now you hold someone captive for 50 measly dollars? You will be punished.” In anger the king turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed (Matthew 18:23-34).
Jesus told his followers, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (v. 35).
It should be obvious from this parable that unforgiveness can lead to torment and torture. It may not be physical, but it is a torture of the soul that many of us know. Is there someone in your life you haven’t forgiven?
If there is someone, ask God to show you how to release them. Forgiveness is a wonderful gift. We should share it with others.
Prayer: Father, forgive me of my sins as I forgive those who sin against me.