***Disclaimer: This title was borrowed from the sermon “When Forgiveness Seems Impossible” courtesy of Life Church. Please feel free to view the sermon below.
Forgiveness is a central tenant of Christianity, whether it be vertical or horizontal. Vertical forgiveness refers to forgiveness between God and us as opposed to horizontal forgiveness, which refers to forgiveness between us and Children of God. That being said, everyone has been in a position that forgiveness seems impossible. Situations such as betrayal in a marriage, betrayal from a business partner, abuse in any relationship, etc are all areas where the offense just seems unforgivable. So do we really need to forgive in those situations?
The simply answer is a resounding yes.
The Bible gives us very clear instructions where forgiveness is concerned. An example can be seen below. This verse is very clear that we are to forgive each other as the Lord has forgiven us (courtesy of biblia.com). In other translations, this verse says “ANY grievance as the Lord has forgiven you” Any, all, without exception. The Lord forgives every single one of our many transgressions without limitation, but why do we have to do the same?
Let me illustrate this for you. The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant is my favorite example of this. For those of you who are not familiar with this parable, it is a story about a king and two servants (Matthew 18:21-35). The king has a wayward servant that owes him10,000 talents. I promise I will explain what talents are in just a moment, stick with me. The servant begs for a little more time and the king gives it to him. The servant, now in the clear, approaches a fellow servant that owes him 100 denarii. He begs for more time but the first servant refuses, casting the other into debtor’s prison. The king finds out and revokes his previous forgiveness from the first servant because instead of forgiving his fellow servant as he should have done, he was cruel.
Now, let’s put this in modern day language
One denarii is the equivalent of one full day’s work. So servant #2 owed servant #1 the wage equivalent of 100 days of work. In modern terms of the daily wage of the average person in the U.S., that is about $15,000. That is a lot, but a manageable amount. Now, #1 owed his king 10,000 talents, which is 60,000 denarii. That is 60,000 days of work or $9,278.400,000! That is over 9 BILLION dollars!
So, the king forgave a ridiculous, unachievable amount of money. This symbolizes the fact that God forgives us of more sins than we could EVER pay back. There is no possible way to pay God back for all of our billions of sins. Now, servant #1, now forgiven, refused to give servant #2 the measly amount that he owed him… after being forgiven 9 BILLION dollars worth! That is not a Biblical way to behave.
Now, how many times should we forgive them? The Bible says 7 times 70 times. This number does not mean you should actually count every time somebody wrongs you. It illustrates that you should forgive and forgive, just as God forgives you. This even applies to those in prison. Even if the world says some things are unforgivable, through Christ, all is forgiven. And sharing the peace that comes with forgiveness is one of our main goals here at CPP Ministry. So please, consider joining our cause.