Peter came to Jesus and asked how many wrongs against him he should forgive one of his fellows, and whether seven was enough. Jesus replied that Peter should forgive them not just seven times, but four hundred and ninety times. He then told the following story:
a king decided take account of his servants. When he had begun to reckon, one was brought before him who owed him a million pounds of silver. Because the man could not afford to pay, the king commanded that he be sold, along with his wife, children, and all that he had, and payment be made from the proceeds. At this, the servant fell down and begged him.
“Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything,” he said.
The king was moved with compassion, and freed him and forgave him the debt. But then the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred ounces of silver, laid hands on him, and took him by the throat.
“Pay me what you owe me,” he demanded.
His fellow servant fell down at his feet, and besought him.
“Have patience with me, and I will pay you all of it,” he said.
But the first servant would not. He had the other man cast into prison until he could pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what he had done, they were very upset, and came before the king and told him all that had happened. The king called his servant before him.
“You wicked man,” he said. “I forgave you all that debt, because you begged me. Shouldn’t you have had compassion for your fellow servant, just as I took pity on you?”
The king was furious, and delivered the servant to his enemies, making it clear he was never to return until he was able pay all that was due.
The morale of the story is that much will be forgiven of you and you will still be welcome in the kingdom of heaven, but if you do not, in your heart of hearts, forgive your brothers for their wrongs, you will be cast out.