Matthew 18:21-35

Jesus tells the people about the servant who did not forgive

21 Then Peter came to talk to Jesus. He asked, ‘Lord, if my friend does wrong things against me many times, how many times should I forgive him? Must I forgive him as many as seven times for the wrong things that he has done against me?’

22 Jesus replied, ‘I do not say only seven times. I say you should forgive him 77 times!’

18:22Jesus is saying that we must continue to forgive people many, many times.

23 Jesus then said, ‘I will tell you a story to show what the kingdom of heaven is like. A king wanted to check how much money his servants should give to him because of their debts. 24 So the king began to check. His men led a servant to him who had a big debt. He must pay back 10,000 gold coins to the king.

18:24This was a very large amount of money. No man could ever pay all this money to the king.

25 The servant could not pay his big debt to the king. So the king said to his men, “Sell the servant and his wife and his children and all his things. Then I will keep the money to pay his debt.”

26 Then the servant went down on his knees in front of the king. He said to the king, “Please, please give me some more time, then I will pay you everything.” 27 The king felt sorry for his servant. He forgave him for all the debt and let him go free.

28 But then that same servant went away and he met another servant of the king. This other servant had to pay back a debt of 100 silver coins to the first servant. The first servant took hold of the neck of the other servant to hurt him. He said, “Give me the money that is mine.”

29 The other servant went down on his knees in front of the first servant. He said, “Please, please give me some more time, then I will give you the money.”

30 But the first servant would not agree. He put the other servant in prison until he could pay his debt to him. 31 The other servants of the king saw what had happened. They were very upset about it. So they went to see the king. They told him about everything that had happened.

32 When the king heard this, he told the first servant to come to him. “You are a very bad person,” the king said to the servant. “I forgave you the whole of your big debt to me. I did this because you asked me very strongly. 33 I was kind to you. You should have been kind to that other servant in the same way.” 34 The king was very angry with the first servant. He told his men to put him in prison. They punished the servant there very much, until he could pay all his debt to the king.’

35 Then Jesus finished the story and he said, ‘You must forgive your friends completely. If you do not agree to forgive them, then my Father in heaven will do like that king did. He will not forgive you.’