Peter’s question about forgiveness ( “How many times must I forgive my brother?”) isn’t just his question. He’s asking the question for all of us.
Your forgiveness must be measured by God’s forgiveness–beyond measure, Jesus says. The two servants in the parable are part of a money operation gone wrong, and money brings out the worst of people. There’s a big difference in the money owed. The first owes ten thousand talents, a huge sum, and in a unexpected display of mercy, his master forgives the entire debt.
After being forgiven so much, however, that servant sends off to debtors prison another servant who owes him a few denarii. The ten thousand talents his master has forgiven him would be worth about 10 million denarii. Big difference!
A parable isn’t our only teacher, however. God’s unmeasurable forgiveness finds its greatest expression in the passion and death of Jesus: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” he cries out from the cross. He pleads, not for one, or a few, but for the whole world. He reveals the mercy of God beyond measure. We measure our forgiveness of others against his.