“Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?”
– Matthew 18:33
Jesus was talking with the disciples about the proper way to correct and restore those who have been caught up in sin. The ultimate goal is not condemnation but restoration. The goal of any Christ follower should not be to “kick them while they are down” but rather help to lift them up, if at all possible. Although there may come a time where a person must be removed, it is not until the principles in Jesus’ message here in these verses is followed.
Jesus said, “where two or more are gathered, I am there in the midst of them.” Jesus did not mean that He is not present when it is us alone praying, because He is. He will never leave us or forsake us. He was saying to be in prayer and agreement. It takes on the same concept outlined in Leviticus 26:8. The word agree in Greek gives us our word symphony. The church must agree when disciplining the erring member and become in tune with one another in desire, heart and voice for the unrepentant.
After this, we see that Peter asks a question about forgiveness. The basic question is, how many times should we forgive someone? Jesus’ reply, “an unlimited amount of times.” Then Jesus gives a story about a servant owing a master yet is forgiven a debt. And that same servant when out after that but did not forgive others their debts. The forgiven servant refused to be a forgiving servant.
“Where there is love,” says Wiersbe, “there can be no limits or dimensions.” Peter asked for limits and measures but Jesus gave forgiveness no limits or measures. If you expect people to forgive you and your faults, do you demonstrate the same for others, even those you feel hate towards? Forgiveness is not a one way street!
“Peter asked for a just measuring rod; Jesus old him to practice forgiveness and forget the measuring rod.”
– Warren Wiersbe