Matthew 18:21-35

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’  And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

APHIEMI is the Greek word for forgiveness. It means to remit debts, to completely cancel debts owed, deliverance of sinner from the penalty of sin committed, complete removal of the cause of offence, to let go of trespasses.

Forgiveness is one of the greatest words in any language and it remains one of the most emotively powerful in the Kingdom of God. It is positioned at the very heart of God’s message to us. Everyone has been offended and everyone has offended before. You have been in need of forgiveness and others have needed your forgiveness. Jesus said offence must come. Life is a contact sport, so from time to time we will trespass against one another either in word or deed. The challenge is that although we all know offence is a given, we have not made provisions for it as we make provision for defaulters in case of contracts. In every business contract, there is always a clause to deal with a break in the payment or agreement. This provides flexibility, a get out clause and sometimes penalty for the parties involved. But the most important thing is that offense is included in the calculation before a contract is signed off.

Friend, you will offend at one time or the other and you will also be offended, so get real and develop a reservoir of forgiveness for possible offenders. Please be aware that forgiveness is a gift you first give yourself. You must first learn to forgive yourself and receive forgiveness from God and others.

You must also learn to forgive others in advance, I mean before they ask for or in case they never ask for it. This is because if you don’t forgive, you are holding inside you a poisonous substance and poison kills if left unattended. To be unforgiving is like drinking a poison and expect the offender to die but that’s not going to happen. So set yourself free by letting go of the offence before it eats you up and make you bitter. Nobody likes a bitter person and the Holy Spirit is not effective around bitter people.

In the above scripture, our Lord Jesus Christ insists that we forgive all men at all times. According to bible scholars, they said to forgive seventy times seven implies infinity. To be unforgiving is not natural, it is demonic and satanic. The reason I say that is, if you look at children they don’t hold grudges and they are not unforgiving. They are quick to forgive and let go. One minute they are unhappy and will not talk to anyone, the next minute they are back to play with everybody including their offender. The bible says in malice we should be like children and in understanding we should mature. Unforgiveness makes you static and dries up the anointing. I encourage you to sit down and do some soul searching on this issue and stop it from stopping you and your blessing.

Why we should forgive

  • God commands us to forgive – Ephesians 4:32 – And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
  • It is reciprocal – Matthew 6: 14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
  • It brings out the divinity in us in the midst of conflict – Romans 5:8 – But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
  • It is a key to deliverance –
  • It is seed with a sure harvest – Luke 6:37 – “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
  • It prevents satanic oppression and strongholds – James 3:16 – For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

Causes of unforgiving heart

  • Conflict
  • Unwholesome words
  • Misunderstanding

For Further Study

James 3:16, Romans 5:8

Personal Declaration for the Day

I will not wait for others to ask for forgiveness before I give it. I will not allow an unforgiving heart to take my joy and blessings. I will develop a reservoir of forgiveness both for now and future offenders.

Questions for you to reflect on

  1. Have you received and kept the forgiveness you received?
  2. How often do you give forgiveness?
  3. How big is your forgiveness reservoir?
  4. What sin is it you cannot forgive or receive forgiveness for?