The Fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT
Podcast Episode: The Fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT – PATIENCE #4
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, AND SELF-CONTROL. There is no law against these things.” [Galatians 5:22-23 NLT]
The Parable of Unforgiving Debtor
Matthew 18:21-35 (NLT) says, “21 Then Peter came to Him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” 22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! 23 “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. 24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 25 He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold – along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned – to pay the debt. 26 “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ 27 Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. 28 “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. 29 “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. 30 But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full. 31 “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. 32 Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. 35 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”
Let’s meditate and ask the Holy Spirit to guide, lead, and gives us the wisdom to apply this parable lesson in our lives.
On Verse 21, Peter asked our Lord Jesus a question commonly discussed in rabbinic debates. The common answer was that it was considered sufficient to forgive three times. Peter may have chosen the number seven not only to indicate generosity, but also because the number seven is commonly used in the Bible to communicate completeness.
On Verse 22, our Lord Jesus’ answer did not mean His followers ought to keep count up to seventy times seven; rather, this statement means not to keep track of numbers at all. There ought to be no limit to a believer’s willingness to forgive another believer (within the confines of the steps set out above in helping to restore straying believers, Matthew 18:15-20). All Born-Again Christian believers ought to willingly forgive, for all believers have already been forgiven far beyond their comprehension, as the following parable shows.
On Verses 23-24 > This parable is recorded only in Matthew and illustrates the need for unlimited forgiveness in the body of Christ. A king decided that he wanted to go over the books with his accountant. This first man found himself in debt for a huge sum of money.
On Verse 25 > The man couldn’t pay the king the millions that he owed, so the king ordered that he, his family, and his possessions be sold to pay the debt. The sale of family as well as possessions to pay debts was common in ancient times.
On Verses 26-27 > The man humbly fell down before the king and begged for patience. The merciful king was filled with pity, released him and forgave his debt. This highly unlikely turn of events would have surprised our Lord Jesus’ listeners. What an incredible load must have been taken from his shoulders! Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end here.
On Verses 28-31 > The king had forgiven a debt of millions of dollars and had let his servant go free. But when that servant left, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. The thousands he was owed was a significant amount, but compared to the millions, it was extremely small. The fellow servant also begged for patience but was refused, arrested, and jailed until the debt could be paid.
Compared to what the first servant had been forgiven, his refusal to forgive another was appalling. Apparently other servants (other court officials) thought his behavior was appalling as well, so they went to the king and told him what had happened.
On Verses 32-33 > For some reason, the first servant just didn’t understand. After being forgiven millions of dollars, he threw into prison a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand. But before he continued too far on his merry way, he found himself summoned or ordered to come back to the king. The king, who had been so merciful, angrily reproved the servant for accepting forgiveness and then being unwilling to extend forgiveness to another. The servant should have had mercy on his fellow servant.
On Verse 34 > The king was so angry that he sent the man to prison. Because this man would not forgive another, the king decided not to forgive his debt either. Instead, the man would be imprisoned until he had paid every penny. This man effectively received a life sentence.
Last but not the least, on verse 35 > The king in the parable represents the heavenly Father God and pictures His role as judge. In the context of interchurch discipline, the parable could underscore the corporate responsibility of the fellowship churches to deal righteously with erring family members. This includes harsh judgment on those who hurt the fellowship by refusing to forgive one another. But because God has forgiven all our sins, we should not withhold forgiveness from others. Realizing how completely our Lord Jesus Christ has forgiven us should produce a free and generous attitude of forgiveness toward others. When we don’t forgive others, we are saying that we appreciate God’s love and forgiveness but that we’re unwilling to give it to anyone else.
Our Lord Jesus Christ’s parable can be paraphrased as follows: (Elias and Christie are just example here)
Elias offends Christie. Elias says, “I’m sorry, Christie, will you forgive me?” “Certainly, Elias. It was nothing; forget it,” says Christie. Then Elias does the same offensive thing again. “I’m sorry, Christie, will you forgive me?” “Certainly, Elias, but try not to do it again.” Then Elias does the same offensive thing again. “I’m sorry, Christie, will you forgive me?” “Uh … let me think about it, and I’ll get back to you.”
Meanwhile, Christie, who wishes Elias would get hold his moral inconsistencies, also sins. It’s the same sin she regularly commits against God, and she goes before the Lord and says, “Oh, God, I know I’ve begged your forgiveness a thousand times for this same sin, but will you forgive me once more?” And Christie is surprised to hear God’s answer: “I don’t know, Christie. Did you ever get back to Elias?”
How often should we forgive our loved ones and/or neighbors? One more time than they ask.
Patience is an unhurried virtue. Patience waits and forgives and waits and forgives.
I hope and pray that we will understand how God thinks and sees us when He created us all.
God bless you all.