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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Why I Should Forgive

In review of Matthew 18:27 it says, “The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go”

Bottom Line:
The king had pity, forgave the debt and let him go.

What this means to me:
Like the king in this story and like God our Father, I am to show pity on others who have sinned or offended me and forgive and release them from any debt I may feel is due.

Today's passage comes from the last part of Matthew chapter 18 in which Matthew recounts how Jesus responded to Peter with the Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor, when he asked how often should we forgive someone who sins against us.

Peter proposes what he thinks is a safe number, seven. However Jesus responds with seventy times seven.  He then goes on to compare the Kingdom of Heaven to king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed. One such debtor owed millions of dollars and he could pay. His master then ordered he be sold along with his family and everything he owned to pay the debt. But the man fell down before his master and begged him to be patient with him. The master released him and forgave his debt.  But then this same man who was forgiven found someone who owed his money and he demanded instant payment. His fellow servant fell down and begged for a little more time, but instead the man had him arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid.

When some of the other servants observed this, they were upset and told the king. The king called the servant in. I forgave you a tremendous debt because you pleaded, shouldn't you have shown the same mercy on your fellow servant. Then the angry king sent the man to prison until he could pay his debt. This is what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.

So God’s Word tells me why I have to let go of my hurt and resentment. I’ve got to release it instead of rehearsing it. There are three reasons I need to forgive.

First, because God forgives me. In Matthew 18, Jesus tells the story of a king who forgives his servant. Verse 27 says, “The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go” (NIV). Just as the king canceled the debt of this servant, God sent Jesus Christ to pay for my debt. Everything I’ve ever done wrong in my life has already been paid for. Jesus took my rap. He paid my jail time. He took my offense and paid the wages of sin. Jesus Christ died for all of my sins.

Secondly, because resentment is self-torture. It is a self-inflicted wound. Whenever I’m resentful, it always hurts me more than the person I’m bitter against. In fact, while I’m still worrying about something that happened years ago, the other person has forgotten about it! My past is past, and it can’t hurt me any more unless I hold on to it.

Lastly, because I need forgiveness every day. The Bible teaches very clearly that I cannot receive what I’m unwilling to give. To be forgiven, I need to be forgiving.

Forgiveness is a lifestyle. It’s not just something I do one time. I need it every day of my life. I’ve got to ask for forgiveness. I’ve got to accept forgiveness from God and from others. And I’ve got to offer forgiveness. Forgiveness must be continual. It must be enjoyed, and it must be employed.

As I consider if there is anyone in my life that I have not forgiven, this notion came to mind. I had volunteered a skill set I have.  So far I have only been asked a few times to be of use with it. I had been somewhat holding onto to some internal bitterness regarding them not asking me more to use it. I speculate that it’s because they have a lot of talent already and don’t really need the help. I should just purpose to find out for sure if it’s this or that they don’t think my skill is what they need.  This way I won’t end up harboring any resentment or bitterness.