The Price of Unforgiveness
“Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:32–35, ESV).
Forgiveness is costly. After someone deeply hurts you, it costs you something to release that person from the debt owed to you. Just ask Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Even more costly is unforgiveness. The fallout of not forgiving is huge. When you decide not to release a person but instead nurse the injury and harbor resentment, look out for some major consequences—as the life of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18 reveals.
At the center of that story is an unforgiving heart. Though the servant had been forgiven an immense, unpayable debt, he refused to forgive his fellow servant’s relatively minor debt—and the price of his unforgiveness was very high. Let’s count the cost of unforgiveness:
1. Shattered relationship. The two servants must have been close friends for the first to loan the second the equivalent of four months’ pay. So how close could they have been after the lender seized, choked, threatened, and imprisoned the borrower? Their friendship was an obvious casualty.