Seventy Times Seven

Matthew 18:21-35


Peter asked Jesus a question. “Lord, what if someone wrongs me and I forgive him, but he wrongs me again? How many times should I continue to forgive him—seven times?”

Jesus said, “Peter, listen carefully. You’re to forgive him seventy times seven!

“Think of it this way. A king decided to settle the accounts with those who owed him money. So he brought in a man who owed him a million dollars. The king realized there was no way this man could pay him back. So he said to his accountant, ‘Take this man, his wife, and his children, and sell them. And then sell everything he owns. Get as much as you can, and apply it to his debt.’

“The man fell to the ground and yelled, ‘Oh king, please be patient with me and I’ll pay you everything I owe.’

“The king knew this was an empty promise, but he was sympathetic. He said, ‘Release this man. I’ll forgive his entire debt.’ The man could hardly believe his ears. His entire debt was gone, and he was free.

“A few days later, this same man found a friend who owed him 5,000 dollars. He grabbed him and started choking him. ‘You owe me 5,000 dollars, and I want it now.’”

“The friend fell down and yelled, ‘Oh please, be patient with me and I’ll pay you everything I owe.’

“ ‘No, I’ve lost my patience with you! I’m going to throw you into a work prison, and you’ll stay there until I get all my money.’

“The king was shocked when he heard what happened. He had the man brought before him. ‘You ungrateful wretch! I forgave your debt of one million dollars because I had pity on you. How could you treat your friend like this, and for 5,000 dollars!? Guard, take this man and throw him into prison.’ ”

Jesus then said to Peter. “My heavenly Father has been generous with you when he forgave all of your sins. Therefore, you are to be generous in forgiving others.”



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