Following his answer to Peter Jesus tells a story that illustrates his point. The story is about a man who is forgiven a great debt by the king and then refuses to forgive a man who owes him a smaller debt. Jesus concludes the story with these words from the king:
‘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?’The heart of forgiveness is mercy - God's unconditional mercy that always forgives. One who keeps an account of forgiveness (seven times) does not understand the heart of forgiveness (seventy times seven). Jesus wraps up the story with this lesson from it:
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.I think that there is no greater spiritual bondage than that of unforgiveness. When we refuse to forgive we imprison our soul in a dark dungeon. Such is the reason that Jesus tells us to forgive others from our heart whenever they ask us.. and even when they do not.
Lord, I forgive all that have offended me. Wash me clean of any bitterness.