“Forgive us… as we have forgiven others” (Matt. 6:12).
We learn from Matthew 20:2 that a denarius was an average day’s wages in Jesus’s day. The job in Matthew 20:2 was an unskilled labor job, so the day’s wage was likely at minimum wage. A hundred denarius then was equal to 100 day’s wages.
A talent, however was MUCH more than a denarius. In fact, it would take a labourer about 20 years to earn a single talent! A debt of 10,000 talents would require the labourer to toil 20 x 10,000 years to earn. That’s 200,000 years! Truly an impossible debt for one to repay!
The parable in Matthew 18:23-35 contrasts for us to the astounding debt we owed our Creator and which He paid for us in Christ with the insignificant by comparison debt others may owe to us.
Earlier in Matthew 18 Peter asks Jesus “Lord, how many times shall I forgive… Up to seven times?” “…Not seven times,” Jesus answers, “but seventy times seven times.” Of course Jesus is not really saying one must forgive another up to a measured 490 times and then no more. No. He is saying that forgiveness must become our response to the genuinely penitent at all times…. just as it is the Lord’s:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins…” (1 John 1:9a).
But, someone might protest, doesn’t that just make one a doormat?
The Corinthians must have thought so. Their response to having been wronged by a brother was to take the man to court – heathen court! “Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?” (1 Cor. 6:7) Paul implored.
When believers behave like unbelievers they demonstrate to the world that Christians are no different… that Christ is no different… that in reality there is no other cheek, no second mile, no cloak to be offered (See Matt. 5:39-41).
But when instead a Christian offers forgiveness to a truly penitent soul he is truly acting godly, Christ-like, with a supernatural love, Agapé love, the love of God. We needn’t be doormats, but we must be Welcome mats — for Christ as His ambassadors, and to this world that desperately needs shelter.
“Forgive us… as we have forgiven others.” We must pray it often for our own sake, for our brother’s, and for the sake of His Kingdom.