Matthew 18: 21-35 – Forgive as the Lord forgave you
Conduct in the community of disciples called “the church” is to be patterned after the mercy and grace of God’s free forgiveness of sin – which is an important basis for the very existence of the community. As God freely forgives those who have sinned against him, so are the disciples to freely forgive those who sin against them. In both instances the repentance of the sinner is assumed. The failure to forgive one who is repentant casts doubt of the genuineness of a person’s discipleship. The refusal to forgive others will be reflected upon the disciple in God’s refusal to forgive him or her. Thus, in keeping with the thrust of the larger discourse, we see again the high importance of a person’s conduct toward other members of the community. The community must treat its members as God treats them. Failure in this respect creates an intolerable inconsistency at the very point where the kingdom is to manifest itself: in the community of the redeemed, living in a fallen world.
(sourced from Word Biblical commentary, Matthew 14-28, by Donald A. Hagner, pages 540-1)
Blessings, Reverend Lyndon