Mat 18:26-30 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ (27) And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. (28) But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ (29) So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ (30) He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt.
One primary reason that the Lord tells us things like this:
Mat 6:14-15 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, (15) but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
…is because the genuine Christian, having received forgiveness of his own sins, will certainly be ready to forgive others who humbly repent and ask for forgiveness. Jesus does not say these things to us in the commonly abused sense of “you better forgive anyone who sins against you or else!” but rather to demonstrate that biblical forgiveness demonstrates a heart that has been born again by faith in Christ. Therefore, as the Lord says, if someone who claims to be a Christian refuses to forgive someone who asks for their forgiveness in humility and repentance, that hard-hearted person is shown to be a fake.
And these fakes abound in our churches!
Narcissists, abusers, sociopaths – wicked people parading as Christians, inevitably refuse to forgive. Most often the offense they refuse to forgive is not a sin at all, but a violation of the wicked man’s own rule system. But our point here is, that these kind do not forgive.
Because they have never known the forgiveness of God themselves. They are not born again. They claim to have received much from the Lord but in fact He has not gifted them with salvation due to their hardness of heart. And as a result, the first Scripture cited above applies to them. Their ending will be this:
Mat 18:32-34 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. (33) And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ (34) And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt.
Debt re-instated. Loan forgiveness now denied. And how long will it take this wicked man to pay all his debt? Eternity. His sin, unforgiven, sends him to hell.
I believe that the majority of Scriptures which instruct us in this matter of forgiveness actually have primary application to the wicked who are counterfeit Christians, having crept in among us. A real Christian, having experienced the amazing grace and forgiveness of God in Christ, is a new creation who forgives those who humbly ask and who are genuinely repentant. Those who have received much understand that much is required of them. And they gladly and richly give this requirement. Even when those who have sinned grievously against us refuse to repent, we earnestly desire that they come to repentance and we are most certainly willing to forgive if they should do so.
But these evil ones who are gods to themselves (the abusers and narcissists we deal with in this blog) and who demand that others worship them – do not repent. And they do not forgive. You might be tempted at times to go reason with them and plead with them to see and own their sin so that they might be forgiven. But it will be to no avail. They will only use your efforts against you.