You’ve been forgiven by God an unimaginable debt of sin. You are required by God to forgive the miniscule debt of the sins against you.
February’s Awakening, Day 28
God forgives talents; we cannot forgive pence. God forgives a hundred thousand; we cannot forgive a hundred (Matthew 18). We look that God should forgive us, and we will not forgive others.
In the presence of God, nothing stands between Him and us—we are forgiven. But we cannot feel His presence if anything is allowed to stand between ourselves and others.
There is only one person God cannot forgive. The person who refuses to come to him for forgiveness.
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13–14 NIV
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold [talents] was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins [denarii]. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” Matthew 18:23–35 NIV (Bold brackets—NKJV)
“The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant” should be sufficient evidence in and of itself as to the dire importance of forgiveness and our sincere forgiveness from the heart towards all humanity. But let’s take a closer look so we don’t miss the significance of what Jesus is telling us here. The talent was an ancient unit of weight used for a variety of measures, but especially measures of precious metals, namely gold and silver. The value of the talent varied from culture to culture and varied throughout time. Today, we can only approximate the value of the talent in the time of Jesus to be somewhere between 57–75 pounds of weight, with the upper limit being the value most often referenced. In ancient times one talent of gold approximated 20 years of wages for the common worker. The denarius was a Roman silver coin roughly equivalent to the Greek drachma coin, and was the typical wage for one day’s labor.
It should be apparent in the parable that God is the King or Master, and we are the servants. The burden of our sin is analogous to the amount of monetary indebtedness we owe to our King. Let’s use some current values to put these figures in perspective. The current value of gold is $1,237 per ounce and the current value of silver is a mere $18 per ounce. In the example, Jesus tells us that our indebtedness of sin is roughly equivalent to 10,000 talents of gold. Using 75 pounds per talent, that’s 750,000 pounds of gold, or 12,000,000 (12 million) ounces, and at $1,237 per ounce, equals $14,844,000,000 (almost 15 billion dollars). Even using the ancient standard of one talent of gold is 20 years’ wages, we would need to work 200,000 years to pay back the debt. Either way we look at it, it is an impossibility for us to overcome (remember: sin is the immovable object)—yet our Master has forgiven it all and more with no questions asked or requirement in return except that we forgive others equally well.
In contrast, the servant required a fellow servant to pay to him his debt owed in full with no recourse or mercy shown. The amount owed was 100 denarii, or 100 days of labor. The weight and value of the typical silver denarius also varied throughout history, but in the time of Jesus it was probably equivalent to approximately 4 grams or 0.14 ounce of silver, which would value one denarius at $2.52 (a day’s wage), so the servant’s total indebtedness to the other servant was a mere $252 by today’s standards. Even though the value of gold and silver is much higher now than in ancient times, the relative proportions would still be the same. Billions of dollars compared to hundreds of dollars and 200,000 years of labor compared to 100 days of labor.
And if you still don’t think this is serious and significant, you better read those last few lines of the parable again.