Matthew 18:21-35

Thy Word:

Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”

“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!

“Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.

“But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.

“But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.

“When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.

“That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.” Matthew 18:21-35 NLT


My Thoughts:  

Lord, please guide my words and let me communicate your truth and love and add nothing that will bring harm to anyone who is struggling with forgiveness. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

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One of my favorite sayings goes something like this: Forgiveness is a choice and it’s a gift we give to ourselves. We forgive not because they deserve it, but because we deserve it. (credit unknown)

STOP! Before you close this blog thinking it’s another wasted effort on the benefit of forgiveness, please let me explain something about forgiveness:

When we forgive:

  1. we do not forfeit the pain, the hurt, or pretend it didn’t happen, nor do we have to give our trust back to an individual.
  2. we must remember forgiveness is not association. In other words, we do not have to reconcile a relationship when we forgive, especially if the offender is an abuser or a repeat offender.
  3. we can leave first and forgive next. Sometimes we must stay away for safety.
  4. we should not delay forgiveness until an offender’s behavior changes, because changes may never happen. If that is your situation, see #3.
  5. even if an abuser repents or stops their injurious behavior, it may be sensible to use caution around them and/or choose not to associate with that person. This is especially true if reconciliation could endanger you or a family member if there is a relapse.

Sometimes the only solution in a dangerous situation is to leave first, then work on healing and forgiveness when you are safe.

A personal example and a clear warning: As a child (7 years old), my mother chose to leave my father, an abusive alcoholic, as it was clear he had no intentions of changing his behavior. Eventually we were finally safe when she fled, but we did not get professional help so we could all learn to heal through forgiveness.

“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Hebrews 12:15 NLT

Skipping that step caused damage to my heart and negatively impacted my life. Like the servant in the parable, I was a tortured prisoner…, tortured by myself, my own fears, and bitterness. Eventually, I did choose forgiveness and my heart healed but not until I was 44 years old. Horrible truth. I pray if you and your family are in a comparable situation you learn and embrace forgiveness by attending a good Bible believing and teaching church and by seeking the help of a sound Christian Counselor.


Today I am picking up where I left off writing from the book of Matthew. Naturally, the Lord gave me a tough topic but I’m relying heavily on Him to guide me. If there are errors, they are mine and not the Lord’s.

The verses we read today seem like two different stories, but they are not. It’s one story and it is all about choosing to forgive…, or not.

When we look at Peter’s question to Jesus in our opening verse, we see he might have developed an issue with someone about forgiveness. In fact, he has already pre-determined the number of times we should offer forgiveness (seven times), which might have coincided with the number of times Peter had already forgiven that person!

But Jesus takes Peter (and us) by surprise and not only rebukes Peter’s answer but tells him he is to forgive multiple times. My Bible commentary suggest that Jesus was implying our forgiveness should be endless.

Then Jesus launches into a parable.

So, what is a parable?

Definition – usually a short fictitious story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious principle; provides an instructive example or lesson.

Jesus talks about a king who decided to audit his financial accounts. He notices he has one servant who owed him large sums of money and he demands repayment. The servant tells the king he has no way to pay the debt, so the king orders the servant, his family, and all assets sold to settle the account.

The servant, stricken with fear, begs for more time to repay the debt. His plea must have been heart rendering, because the king takes pity on the servant and instead of giving him more time to repay, he does something amazing; he forgives his enormous debt. WOW!

Immediately leaving the king’s presence, the servant does not collapse to his knees in relief and shout hallelujah’s telling everyone about the king’s magnificent mercy. Instead, he does just the opposite and is cruel to another man who is indebted to him.

We receive no explanation why the servant does this, however, we learn when the king hears about the servant’s cruelty, he immediately retracted his gift, threw him in prison, with instructions to torture the servant until his enormous debt was paid in full.

Finally, Jesus ends the parable with a warning to Peter that this (imprisonment and torture) is what will happen to him should he choose to withhold forgiveness. Then Jesus adds to the warning: it must be true forgiveness from the heart.

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 NLT

As I stated earlier, I struggled with forgiveness from the time we escaped from our abusive situation, until I was 44 years old. My heart was ridiculously hard where my father was concerned. My justification for my anger and unforgiveness was the long-term impact his poor behavior had on our family. I openly hated him and took a hard stance to never forgive him for what we endured.

Let me be candid about that choice: that decision didn’t harm him, he went merrily along with his life, but it made a mess of mine! It created a deep and wide chasm of anger, bitterness, and serious trust issues. My commitment to that decision was so strong, I carried it way past my father’s death (he died when I was in my early twenties). I put myself in prison and tortured myself waiting for an amendment that never came from him when he was alive and certainly wasn’t going to happen after he died.

Then one day Jesus extended an unbelievable and very personal act of mercy to me through a pastor’s message. He said:

If you are listening to me today and you are the victim of abuse by a parent, I have a special message for you:

I am so sorry.

I fell to pieces, y’all. Until that very moment, I didn’t realize the amendment I was seeking was an apology. Suddenly, the chains around my heart broke free and I became a free woman with those four words. The healing process began, and the self-torture ended.

Jesus knew I was seeking something I couldn’t even put into words, so He handed me that gift because he knew the depths of my heart. That day, I surrendered my heart and my hurt to Jesus. When I did that (not just spoken words but a surrender from my heart) He took my unforgiveness, my past, present, and future sins and forgave my enormous debt. What I received that day was something much better than anything my own biological father could have ever given me.

You may be thinking, “So why do horrible things happen to good people?” The answer is as hard as it is easy; free will. God gave us an enormous and powerful gift; He gave us free will to make our own choices and decisions. Sometimes we make the right choices; however, sometimes we make bad choices and when we do, we hurt others. (We are all guilty.)

While it may be tempting to take revenge, there is no healing in revenge, only more pain and suffering. God tells us:

“Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.” Romans 12:19 NLT 

My father lived recklessly for years, but eventually he died a terrible and painful death from the effects of cirrhosis of the liver at the age of forty-nine. However, it wasn’t his death that brought me peace, it was forgiving him.

Truth Bomb: When I refused to forgive him; I kept the offense alive and repeated his behavior of hate, and I hurt innocent victims.

Forgiveness is something you must choose to do, whether you feel like it or not. When I finally realized what I was doing to myself and others, my choice to forgive my father was not a “once and done” thing. I had to choose to forgive him multiple times, but you know what happened? Eventually, my feelings got in line with my choice, and I can say I finally truly forgave my father, from my heart, for what he did to me and my family.

A big lesson I learned from my own personal experience is that I am not without sin or in need of forgiveness—from God and others. No, I didn’t abuse anyone physically, but I can cut you down at the knees with my words. I speak this truth in shame. I have had to apologize for my own bad choices more than once. But just like that king in our parable, Jesus had mercy on me, because He wanted to forgive my huge debts (sins).

“Create in me a clean heart, O God.” Psalm 51:10a

When I shed the past pain and my sins to Jesus, the Lord went right to work on my heart!

“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Ezekiel 36:26 NLT

Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you [Cecilia], so you must forgive others.”

I have one last word of repeat advice to parents who have escaped an abusive situation: get Christian professional help for yourself and your child(ren) because leaving is not enough! You must address the abuse for the health and well-being of yourself, and your child(ren). Had my mother known to do this, it would have been a blessing for her, me, and my siblings. We would not have grown up with so many misunderstandings, bitterness, and pain. A Christian counselor would have used the Word of God to heal our internal and unseen wounds.

Remember, forgiveness doesn’t happen overnight, so give yourself grace on the journey, but don’t give up (seventy times sevenMatthew 18:22).

As a reminder, your past cannot change, but you can change yourself with the help of Jesus.

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” Ephesians 2:8

To be unforgiving is a dangerous choice to make because Jesus says:

“But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:15 NLT

Is that a burden you think you can carry alone?


Closing Prayer: Jesus, thank You for never giving up on me despite my hardened heart. Thank You for never stop whispering to me even when I wouldn’t listen. Thank You when I finally was so exhausted from the battle, I truly listened to Your words, and they captured my heart. Thank You for loving me, Jesus, even when I was the most unlovable. Your love and mercy continue to astound me every day. In the name of Jesus, I thank You for Your mercies, and I also pray I gave justice to Your words today. Amen.

Cancer Update and My Word for 2022

Thy word:

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the Lord.” Lamentations 3:40 NLT

“So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands.” 2 Corinthians 8:10-12 MSG

My Thoughts:


December 2021

I am very tardy about giving an update on my husband’s cancer. Thank you for your patience.

Short answer: Danny’s last chemo was 11/12/2021 and he had a CT scan soon afterwards. The scan was clear, and his blood work was good, not perfect, but good. We cried tears of joy and praised the LORD. He needed that good news and a break from chemo, and frankly, so did I. We absolutely cherished our end of year holidays.

Clouds: The one thing I’ve learned about cancer is it often has ‘clouds’ which prevent clear answers to questions. For instance, throughout the chemo process there was a cancer marker from the blood tests that was consistently higher—rather than lower—after each treatment. That marker often implies that cancer is still lurking/spreading somewhere. Although comforted by the knowledge this marker for colon cancer can become skewed with treatment, it is still unsettling. Our hearts were hoping to get clear results that ‘he is 100% healed’ with no clouds to unsettle us.

Faith and Trust: Instead, the Lord asked us to continue to lean into Him with our faith and trust as we wait for repeat and additional testing this spring. With the wonderful blessings we have had on this journey, I’d like to say we responded with a confident, “Certainly LORD! No problem!” 😬 Really, it is mostly true, but there have been times when we have had conversations about the “what if” scenario. In the end, we made the decision to stand in God’s truth and not wallow in fear. We are moving forward in confidence that he has full healing and making plans for our future!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6



Since 2015 each year I pray for a word from the Lord to guide my new year. I don’t usually ask until I’m ready for an answer because (so far) He gives the word to me right away. I can’t say I’m always pleased with the choices. However, the words I have received—although challenging—have all been appropriate, life applicable, and a blessing.

For instance, last year my word was ‘steadfast’ and the primary verse that I clung to (among others) was:

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” Psalms 112:7 NIV

This word and verse have been more than applicable for a year that included cancer. Our blessing and promise for the year 2021 lie in this verse, in Proverbs 3:5-6, and in Deuteronomy 31:8. ❤️

For 2022 I received an odd word. Odd because no matter what version of the Bible I researched there were no supporting verses because that word is not in the Bible. Therefore, I decided it wasn’t my word and kept praying, yet my heart kept turning back to this word:


I am familiar with this word as I received five instructions from a wise Bible teacher years ago to use as a guide for making sound decisions. In fact, I’ve used these steps for guidance multiple times:

  1. What does the Bible say about it?
  2. What would be the wise thing to do?
  3. What does my conscience say about it?
  4. What are my personal desires?
  5. Am I ready to redirect at any time?


The dictionary also had insightful things to say about this word, but I liked this one:

Redirect – to change the course or direction of (something); turn back.

Again, I didn’t find verses that specifically used the word ‘redirect,’ but I chose these two as being most applicable when I accepted redirect as my word for 2022:

“Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the Lord.” Lamentations 3:40 NLT

“So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands. 2 Corinthians 8:10-12 MSG

(Underlining of words in these verses was mine.)

I didn’t exactly turn away from the Lord, but I did turn my back on a calling last year. Is it possible the Lord is asking me to examine myself and turn back (redirect my actions) to what He called me to do?

Is He asking me to redirect my thinking and stop worrying about what I can’t do and instead focus on what I can do?

The last words in verse 10 of 2 Corinthians say, “The heart regulates the hands.” My heart belongs to Jesus, and my hands used to write, guided by my heart. Is He asking me to redirect my heart and hands from writing things that had good intentions (keeping up with tasks during our difficult season) to the right intentions (to return to writing what He called me to write)?

Finally, twice He says “finish.” This speaks volumes and I must ask myself, am I arrogant enough to ignore this redirection to stop what I’m doing and finish what He called me to do?

Although tough questions, I can certainly use them to redirect my new year.

Additionally, as a friend reminded me: 365 New Mercies!

Before I wrap this up, I’d like to give you my answers to the five questions I mentioned earlier:

  • What does the Bible say about it? – “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 NLT
  • What would be the wise thing to do? – Be obedient! “But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22 NLT
  • What does my conscience say about it? – Turn back! Partial obedience is full disobedience!
  • What are my personal desires? – To finish what I started and to know God’s pleasure. “Well done my good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:23 NLT
  • Am I ready to redirect at any time? – Yes, but I need you, Lord. “Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer; answer me, for I need your help” [to redirect.] Psalms 86:1 NLT


My Prayer: Father God, I continue to ask full healing for Danny and guidance in this new year for both of us. Protect us from all viruses when we venture outside our home. For all upcoming medical procedures and appointments, we ask for wisdom, guidance, and compassion from all medical professionals and their staff. Lastly Lord, I ask You to firmly redirect my thoughts and actions from good intentions to the right intentions, all the way to the finish line. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.