These words are among the most important any of us will study as potential candidates for kingdom-living and for the exercise of kingdom power. They open one of the most penetrating parables Jesus ever taught, for the truth it contains crowds to the center of our souls and forces us to confront an inescapable priority: forgiveness.
Jesus relates all responsible citizenship in His kingdom to our readiness and willingness to relay to others the same spirit of forgiveness God has shown us. As He has taught us to pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matt. 6:12), so this parable elaborates the point. It is shockingly clear. This passage (Matt. 18:23–35) essentially says, “I’m holding you accountable to forgive just as completely as you have been forgiven.” Then the message punches home even more forcibly, bringing this conclusion: if we don’t settle our accounts by being forgiving, God is going to settle a rough account with us!
How much more blessed—how simple and joyous—to simply forgive. How can I do otherwise? He’s shown such mercy to me!