Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
Compassion is the driving force behind forgiveness, not the merit or the worthiness of the one being forgiven. In reality, the servant had accumulated a debt that his lord had every right to expect him to pay. But mercy changes everything. It is willing to forgive an overwhelming debt. It is willing to loose another from bondage. It is willing to take a loss. It selflessly seeks the benefit of another. Jesus wants us to have this same compassion for others, not a vengeful spirit that seeks only justice to be done, but a heart that is willing to forgive.
When the lord freed his servant from the debt, he freed him from the whole debt. He doesn’t expect him to still pay part of it. And he’s not going to come back later and put him back under the bondage of this debt. He never asks for anything in return, but he does expect this servant to show mercy and forgiveness to others. Likewise, when Jesus Christ set us free from our sin, He freed us from all of it. We aren’t going to face some lesser punishment for some of our sins, but they were all paid for by His death on the cross. And we never have to fear a future punishment for the things He has already forgiven us for.
But our Lord does expect us to live with an understanding of what we have been set free from and how much it cost Him. He paid the full price for our mistakes, for our wrongdoing, for our selfishness and all the sin we would ever commit. We are loosed from the prison that should have been our home because of His intervention, His great mercy, His abundant compassion for us. And so then He also expects us to be likewise merciful to others, to let go of vengeful and selfish feelings and treat others with a compassion that imitates His.
Are we living with compassion for others? And will we allow the love of Christ that dwells within us to enable us to forgive those who have wronged us somehow? Are we willing to be gracious even if it costs us something? May we always remember how much Christ did for us and the debts He has forgiven us and allow that remembrance to change the way we treat others. An unforgiving spirit places us back under the bondage we were once freed from.