Did you know that Jesus was a great storyteller? When Jesus was teaching His disciples and the people who gathered around Him, He would tell stories to help them understand what He wanted them to learn. These stories are called “parables”.
One day, Jesus was teaching the crowd about forgiveness and the importance of forgiving others. Do you think it’s important to forgive others? Have you ever had to forgive someone?
Jesus told His followers a story to help them understand forgiveness. Jesus said, “One day, the king of the land decided to bring in everyone who owed him money. If anyone owed him any money, he was going to make them pay at once. The King called in one of his servants and said, “Tell me, what does this servant owe me?” The servant was very nervous as the king’s treasurer said, “This servant owes you over a million dollars.”
The servant was shocked! There was no way he could pay that money back to the king! What would the king do to him? Would he throw him in jail? Or worse?? He begged the king to please give him more time to pay him!
The king understood that this servant owed him a huge amount of money that he could never pay back. He heard the servant as he begged for more time and the king’s heart felt compassion for the servant. The king turned to the servant and said, “I forgive you. You do not have to pay me back any of the money that you owe me.”
“Also,” the king said, “you are free. You no longer have to be my servant. Go in peace.” The servant couldn’t believe it! He did NOT have to pay back the money and he was NOT going to jail! And he was no longer a servant to the king – HE WAS TRULY FREE!
Immediately the man went to tell his family and his friends how the king had forgiven all of his debt AND set him free!!
As the man shared his good fortune, he noticed another slave passing by and remembered that this man owed him money. The forgiven servant stopped him and said, “I haven’t forgotten that you owe me $50.00! You need to pay me now!”
His fellow servant said, “Please be patient with me. I don’t have your money right now, but please give me just a little more time and I will pay you!”
The forgiven servant said, “No! No more time!! I demand that you pay me back all that you owe me now or I’ll have you thrown into prison!”
There were several other servants who heard what the forgiven servant said and they couldn’t believe it! This man who owed the king over a million dollars was forgiven but he refused to forgive his fellow servant who only owed him $50.00! They knew this wasn’t right so they went to the king.
When those concerned servants told the king what had happened, he was furious! The king couldn’t believe it!! He had shown so much grace to the servant by forgiving him, but the same man wasn’t willing to forgive someone else? He had the forgiven servant brought in at once! The king said, “I forgave you so much and yet you are unwilling to forgive others? Because you are not willing to forgive, I do not forgive you! You have to pay me back ALL the money you owe me, over a million dollars! Take him away! He will be a servant until he can pay me!”
Can you believe how unforgiving this man was? It’s interesting why Jesus told this story. He wanted the people listening to understand that anytime we don’t forgive, we’re like that unforgiving servant. Jesus died to take our sins away – He gave His life as payment for all of our sins. If Jesus was willing to die, to give His very life, to save us and forgive us of our sins, shouldn’t we be willing to forgive others, too? I don’t want to be like the unforgiving servant, do you? I want to be like Jesus who loves and forgives.