Summary: Jesus’ answer to Peter’s question about how often to forgive someone is a reversal of the ancient idea of unlimited vengeance. Jesus calls us instead to unlimited forgiveness. This is possible because God’s forgiveness of us is more than an exercise in bookkeeping. It is an act of reconciliation that changes peoples’ lives, so that they can be not only forgiven people but forgiving ones.
Summary: Even though Jesus warns us about our lack of forgiveness, we do not forgive others out of fear of punishment. We forgive because we feel grateful to God. The gratitude develops mercy and kindness deep within us.
Summary: Jesus wants us to get stronger and healthier by making the decision to forgive. He then challenges us to turn that choice into an ongoing process, based on a willingness to forgive others because God has forgiven us.
Rather than offering a simple message of “forgive or you won’t be forgiven,” this parable offers a picture of what life in the church should be like, and of what life in the kingdom the church represents will be like.