Every day we pray: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The story Jesus tells us today paints these words. Our Savior shows us how He wants us to act towards others when they do something bad to us: He wants us to forgive them.
The man with an unpayable debt is a lot like you. You too have an unpayable debt. It’s called sin. The debt works like this: God owns you, so He expects you to be perfect and never do anything wrong. But you aren’t perfect, and it’s hard for you to be good all the time. Sometimes you just can’t help being bad. Sometimes you like being bad. Sometimes you only do the right thing because somebody’s watching you or will find out if you don’t and you don’t want to be punished. That’s all sin, God’s Law tells us. Since you’re not acting or being the way He wants you to be, you owe Him big time if you want to get out of trouble. But big time is something you can never get to – it’s too high. You can never pay that much. You can never do enough good – just like the man in the parable.
So what does God do? Does He punish you? No! Instead He takes the book in which your debt is written and He erases it, erases it far cleaner than the eraser at the end of this pencil can erase. What does He use? He uses Jesus’ Blood, The Blood He shed on The Cross for you. Your debt doesn’t exist anymore. You owe God nothing for your sins. Jesus paid it all when He died. He paid for every single sin that will ever be committed on planet earth. He paid for the corruption that infects us all too. In Holy Baptism, His Blood is applied to you. Your sin-debt is gone for good!
So how should you act? Don’t be like the guy in the parable. Don’t go out and find somebody that did something wrong to you and beat him up and throw him into jail or be mad at him forever. Forgive him. Whoever does something bad to you is just as bad in God’s sight as you are. God is perfect, yet He forgives you. So of course you should forgive those who sin against you. Why? Because this shows you believe Jesus has forgiven you. It shows that you are thankful too, and Jesus wants us to be thankful for what He’s done for us.
Let’s close with what Luther says in The Catechism about this. What is The Fifth Petition? “And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” What does this mean? “We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look at our sins, or deny our prayer because of them. We are neither worthy of the things for which we pray, nor have we deserved them, but we ask that He would give them all to us by grace, for we daily sin much and surely deserve nothing but punishment. So we too will sincerely forgive and gladly do good to those who sin against us.”