In our ministry, we meet a lot of people who are struggling with serious physical, emotional and spiritual problems. Many feel themselves in bondage to some addiction, whether that be fear and worry, anger, alcohol, drugs, sex, porn, over eating, etc.. Some feel tormented and don’t know why life just isn’t going well for them.
There can be many reasons for this, but we have found that one of the most common reasons is found in the following passage.
Matthew 18:21-35 New American Standard Bible
21 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. 26 So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’ 27 And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.
28 But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’ 30 But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed.
31 So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. 32 Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’
34 And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. 35 My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”
The first slave was probably a minister of finance, because his debt of 10,000 talents was equivalent to $6 billion dollars. An insurmountable debt to pay, but was graciously forgiven that impossible debt. This is how much God the Father has forgiven us in Christ.
The fellow slave owed him equivalent to $12,000. Instead of having patience, or even forgiving him his debt, he had him thrown in prison. Though not an inconsequential debt, in comparison to what he had been forgiven, it was very little.
You notice that the king represents God the Father. He has the slave turned over to the torturers until he repay all that he owed, because he did not have mercy on his fellow slave as the king had had on him.
Many commentators believe, and we have seen true in our ministry, that the torturers are demons. God turns those who don’t forgive from their heart over to demons to torment them. They torture people by getting them in bondage to sins that they can’t break free from, or they afflict them emotionally or physically. They can’t seem to experience the freedom and joy of the Lord.
This is similar to what Paul condemns the person to who was living in incest.
1 Corinthians 5:1, 5 English Standard Version
5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife.
5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
The way God sets us free from the destruction that comes from Satan and his demons is for us to repent and forgive, as in the case of the person who does not forgive his brother from the heart. We have seen so many people set free from all kinds of physical, emotional and spiritual problems when they genuinely forgive.
If there is someone who has hurt you and you have not yet forgiven them, let me encourage you to say aloud, “I forgive _____ for all he/she did to me.” It will set you free from that prison you are in.