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FORGIVE AS YOU’RE FORGIVEN

Daily Devotional Matthew 18:21–35


Did you know that forgiving others has health benefits? The physical benefits include less anxiety, lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, and improved self-esteem. The spiritual benefits are even greater: restored communion with God and others.


How many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me?

MATTHEW 18:21


You may think of Matthew 18 as the “church discipline chapter.” Verses 15–20 are often referenced when one member of the body has conflict with another. But we should also pay attention to the context. Jesus tells a parable about the one hundred sheep. In the story, ninety-nine sheep are accounted for, but one is missing. The shepherd leaves the flock and searches for the stray (vv. 12–14), so determined is His mercy and love.


After this parable, Jesus explains the discipline process (vv. 15–20). Peter then asks: “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” (v. 21). In response, Jesus tells about a king who needs to settle his accounts. His first servant owes the king ten thousand talents—an astronomical amount. He is making the point that this servant could never repay the debt. The only solution would be to sell himself and his family into slavery, a common practice of the time (v. 25).


But the servant falls to his knees and pleads for more time to pay. It’s an unrealistic request. More time won’t help. However, the king has compassion, cancels his debt, and lets him go (v. 27). Immediately, the servant finds a fellow servant who owes him a hundred denarii, a pittance by comparison. He demands payment, ignores his cries for patience, and sends him to prison. When the king hears, he is enraged. Jesus called His followers to demonstrate their love for God and others by extending unlimited forgiveness and mercy—just as He has done for us.


Go Deeper


How does forgiveness fit into God's command to love others? How many times should we forgive those who sin against us?


Pray with Us:


Forgiveness is hard, Lord! It sometimes seems impossible. But You told us to forgive—and not just seven times, but seventy-times seven. That’s a lot! Give us courage, strength, and humility to forgive.

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