God is a systematic God. Throughout creation, we see where everything works off of systems. In our bodies we breathe in what we need and exhale what we do not need, it is our respiratory system. If the system were to break down to where we could not take in or exhale out then we would choke and die. God created that system for us and we do not have to think about it but we do it without thought, we just breathe.
In Matthew 18 Jesus begins to share with us the system of forgiveness. Now I know that is something that we have a hard time with. I mean we love to hear how God loves us so much that He forgave us of all of our sins, but it is another thing to then turn around and forgive those that have done us wrong. Yet Jesus teaches us that forgiveness to the believer is like breathing, we have to take in the good and release the bad. When we hold in un-forgiveness it causes us to choke in our Soul. One preacher said, “It is like drinking poison and waiting for the other guy to die”. Unforgiveness hurts us much more than the person that did us wrong.
Peter understands the power of forgiveness and realizes that if he is going to be blessed by God then he has to forgive. So he asks Jesus “how many times do I have to forgive them, seven times”. Now what Peter is doing is saying, Jesus where is the boundaries, how many times do I have to do it before I am ok with you. Jesus answers Peter and says not seven times but “Seventy times seven”. Now Jesus is not saying 490 times but what He’s teaching is that as a Christian we should always forgive and we should do it quickly. The Bible says, “don’t let the sun go down on your anger”. We have to learn how to release the hurt, the pain, and the anger that we have towards people.
Now you may say I am a forgiving person and you may be in general but are you in every area of your life. I mean what about your mother-in-law that has never liked you, or that boss that fired you for no reason? What about that co-worker that is always taking credit for what you do or your ex and the person that took them away from you? What about that sibling that you do not talk to anymore? You see when it comes down to one person that has hurt us then it is different. Are we really full of forgiveness?
In the text, Jesus shares a parable of a man that owed his master a large sum of money and when the master went to collect he did not have it. The master was going to sell him and his family but the man pleaded with him to give him more time. The master had such compassion on the man that he not only gave him more time but he forgave the entire debt. The story is an example of what Jesus did for us, in that he paid a debt that we could not pay so that we would not be punished. The story goes on that the man left and found a man that owed him money, just a small amount, and rather than showing forgiveness and compassion the man had him thrown into jail. Why is it that those that have been given forgiveness do not give forgiveness? How can God show us such mercy and we show so little mercy to those that hurt us?
As Christians we must forgive, we have to because when we choose not to it kills us inside. Jesus said if you want to walk with God and be blessed by Him then you have to resolve and you have to forgive. If there are issues in your life that you have not forgiven someone then let me encourage you to pray and let the Spirit of God help you to release it and let it go.