"PAY BACK"

Matthew 18:21-35  "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus said unto him, I say not unto you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, who would take account of his servants. And when he had begun  the reckoning, one was brought unto him, who owed him ten thousand talents. But since he had nothing to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshiped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and released him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, who owed him a hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me what you owe. And his fellow servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay you all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O you wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt, because you desired me: Should not you also have had compassion on your fellow servant, even as I had pity on you? And his lord was angry, and delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if you from your hearts forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses."

Jesus told this parable to point out the fact that we have been forgiven a debt that’s impossible for us to pay back. Verse 24 says a man owed his king 10,000 talents. Translated into dollars that amounts to about 2.5 billion dollars! And when we consider the average day's wage at that time, it would’ve taken this servant 160,000 years to pay back his debt. In other words, it couldn’t be done! He could NEVER pay back the debt he owed; he was in a hopeless situation.
 
Even so, the man asked the king to "have patience with me, and I will pay you all." You see, he was dreaming and the king knew he was dreaming! There was no way he would ever even put a dent in his huge debt, so the king in kindness and grace forgave him his impossible, unpayable debt.

And after being forgiven that huge unpayable debt, you would think the man would learn something about grace, mercy and forgiveness and live differently, but instead the man went out and he found someone else who owed him a "hundred pence" which was several months pay, but still not an unpayable debt. And instead of being kind like the king, he violently threatened his fellow servant throwing him into prison until he paid it all back.

When the king heard about this he was rightly angry and he decided to make the unforgiving man pay back his unpayable debt after all and the man was sentenced to 160,000 years in prison!

BRATS, this parable should be a very sobering warning to us today. There is a  principle here that we need to learn and that principle is this:  If we have been forgiven much then we will forgiven others much. If you’re not a forgiving person then perhaps that’s an indicator that you haven’t really been forgiven much or that you really don’t understand the true value of God’s forgiveness.

You see, if we truly appreciate God’s forgiveness toward us then out of our gratitude for God, out of an understanding of what He’s like and out of a desire to like Him, then we would forgive others just as He has forgiven us. That means we would forgive those who not only owe us small debts, but those who owe us  huge, unpayable debts as well.

In Luke 7 Jesus was invited to eat at a Pharisees house and at this time it was customary for an invited guest to have their feet washed, but Simon the Pharisee didn’t have anyone do that for Jesus, so a woman with a bad reputation as a sinner came in and she began to do what Simon had refused to do.

And Jesus said "Simon, See you this woman? I entered into your house, you gave me no water for my feet: but she has washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. You gave me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in has not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil you did not anoint: but this woman has anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto you, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little" (Luke 7:44-47).

BRATS, who are we most like? Are we most like the wicked servant who wanted forgiveness of an unpayable debt for himself, but wasn't willing to forgive the small debts of others? Or are we like this woman, who realized she had been forgiven much, therefore, she loved much?

I am convinced that the more we realize our own sinfulness and the huge amount of sin debt we've racked up against God and against others, the more we will appreciate the love and forgiveness that's been shown to us through Christ and the more we will be happy to forgive others.

After all, Jesus paid a debt He didn't owe because we owed a debt we couldn't pay. Love much, forgive much and...

GO BLESS, BRATS!