This is the third part of Matthew 18 verse 27. In this parable about a king who forgives his servant we are given three aspects to the act of forgiveness: The king took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. In parts one and two, we looked at the concept of ‘pity’ and what it means to cancel the debt. In this last part we looked at the understanding of letting someone go.
For some, when the read this parable, they see what the king did and they can’t wrap their mind around it. How could he let this guy go? He squandered all this money, where is the justice in that? People say this all the time, “I don’t want to forgive, I want justice!” Are there times that we must seek out justice in legal matters? Of course there are. But we must never pit forgiveness against justice. Unless one forgives before pursuing justice, you’ll only be going after vengeance. Vengeance is never about truth or justice – it’s only about you.
Only when you’ve really forgiven that person, you’ve really come to a place of goodwill toward that person, you really identify with that person, and you really care for the person can you truly pursue justice. Until then, you’re not qualified; let somebody else do it.
But there is another extreme to the understanding of ‘letting him go’ that is the opposite of vengeance. It’s withdraw…and just like vengeance is only about you – withdraw is only about you as well. But we are not to merely withdraw from a person either. Over in Luke 17 we are told: “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” ~ Luke 17