Should we cancel debts and forgive each other freely?

Let’s look at Matthew for guidance, using the story of the unforgiving servant.

Matthew 18:22-35 (NIV):

22 Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

23 ‘Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 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.

26 ‘At this, the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 ‘But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29 ‘His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30 ‘But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 ‘Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger, his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he should pay back all he owed.

35 ‘This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’"

What does it mean?

In the heart of Radical Christianity lies a profound belief in the transformative power of forgiveness—a belief that intertwines our earthly existence with the divine promise of the kingdom of heaven. In Matthew 18:22-35, a passage close to our hearts, Jesus teaches us that forgiveness is the key to being one with God, a fundamental aspect of entering the kingdom of heaven.

Debt Cancellation: An Act of Divine Forgiveness:

Within this scripture, we encounter a parable of debt cancellation, a tangible representation of forgiveness ordained by God. The master’s decision to absolve the servant’s insurmountable debt mirrors God’s unfathomable grace in forgiving our sins and debts. It serves as a reminder that all debts, whether financial or spiritual, are temporary in nature, mere placeholders for the divine promise that awaits us.

Consequences of Unforgiveness:

In this parable, we also learn of the dire consequences of refusing to forgive. The master’s anger and punishment for the unforgiving servant illustrate the profound truth that holding onto grudges and resentments can lead to spiritual separation from God—a stark reminder of why we must actively seek forgiveness.

The Lord’s Prayer: A Continuation of the Message:

Connecting this teaching to the Lord’s Prayer, specifically the line “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors,” we recognize a divine call to reciprocal forgiveness. Just as we seek God’s forgiveness, we are instructed to extend it to our fellow human beings. This reciprocity mirrors the eternal forgiveness that defines the kingdom of heaven.

Heaven as a Place of Eternal Forgiveness:

In the teachings of Radical Christianity, we emphasize that heaven is not only a destination but a way of life—one characterized by eternal forgiveness, love, compassion, and reconciliation. Here on Earth, we are called to embody these heavenly virtues through our actions, holding a mirror to the divine promise that awaits us.

Conclusion:

As Radical Christians, we wholeheartedly embrace the message of forgiveness as a divine act that we, as humans, can embody. Debts, whether financial or spiritual, are temporary in nature, a mere placeholder for what is to come. We are instructed to create on Earth a life that mirrors the forgiveness and grace of the kingdom of heaven.

In doing so, we fulfill our divine calling, striving to live in harmony with God’s will and extending the radical love and forgiveness we have received to others. We invite you to join us on this transformative journey—a journey that reveals the profound connection between forgiveness, our earthly existence, and the promise of an eternal life in the kingdom of heaven.