In Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus answers Peter’s question about how many times he needs to forgive with a parable about a servant who owes a king ten thousands bags of gold. The man should be delivered to torturers since he can’t repay it, but when he begs, the king lets him go. The man leaves the palace only to stop a fellow servant on the street and demand repayment of a few silver coins that he had lent out.
The injustice of the story is angering, but we easily follow suit when we minimize the greatness of the debt forgiven against us and hold bitterness in our hearts against others who have offended us.
Jesus essentially tells Peter not to worry about how many times someone has offended him, since he’d done even more and had been forgiven.
This is why understanding God’s forgiveness towards us is vital: Until we can accept His forgiveness in our own lives with a true understanding of the debt we’d accrued, we will not see the sins against us in an accurate light.
God’s not surprised by your sin, even if you are. Sometimes we get stuck in our disappointment with ourselves, when God has given us grace enough to cover it. If we can’t accept His forgiveness for ourselves, we could be wrestling with a pride issue. But no worries—He can set us free from pride, too. We have to get to a place where we see ourselves the way He does. He sees value in us (even when we’re lost), and He sees the beauty of our redemption in Christ (even when we aren’t able to fully understand it).
From a perspective of redemption, we can begin to relate to people with an attitude of forgiveness in the moment and grace for the future.