Our Debt of Sin

            The average human being lives till she or he is 79 years old. Imagine having credit card or medical debt so big that it would take 2,532 lives to repay. In Matthew 18:23-27, Jesus tells the parable of the unforgiving servant. He uses this servant’s monetary debt to describe the debt of sin that we have incurred with God.

In this parable, a servant owes his king a large sum of money. The servant starts to beg and plead for mercy upon hearing that the king will sell the servant, his family, and all that he has to help repay the debt. After the servant made his plea, the master became moved with compassion and forgave the debt of the servant*. When the servant was freed, he found a fellow servant who owed him money. He proceeded choking the fellow servant to solicit payment. The fellow servant begged and pleaded for mercy, but the servant refused and sent him to jail until he repaid his debt. The encounter between the two servants was reported to the king who became angry with the servant whom he showed compassion. Thus, the servant that servant was also thrown into jail because he did not forgive after being forgiven.

The large debt that the servant owed the king amounted to ten thousand talents. One talent is the amount a servant makes after 20 years of service. The servant was forgiven of a debt worth 200,000 years, but in turn couldn’t forgive the debt of a fellow servant worth 100 days. This representation gives new meaning to the lyrics, “Jesus paid it all and all to him I owe” from the hymn “Jesus Paid it All”. A person’s debt of sin to God requires Jesus’ intervention because it is a debt too big to handle. Jesus appeared before the Father in Heaven in order that mankind could be cleansed from sin (Rom. 3:21-26). Man isn’t immune to sin. However, if we get baptized and turn to God in repentance mankind will be eternally saved.

Jesus’ death on the cross proves the insurmountable love that God has for all His children. Take a moment and reflect about our relationship with God and others. If God can forgive the individual of a large debt that is too numerous to count,  then why can it be hard for us to forgive each other over so little?


(*) Some versions of the Bible will say, “out of pity…” instead of out of compassion. Pity is sympathy that comes with a stigma of looking down on the other person. Compassion encompasses sympathy, empathy, and mercy, by the way of love. Compassion is what God feels for His children.