ABC: Ask and Accept, Believe and Be Bold, Call on Christ, Delightfully Do, Eagerly Exclaim, and now Forgiven to Forgive.
Forgiven to Forgive? Synopsis of Matthew 18:21-35
One day the disciple Peter asked Jesus to explain forgiveness. Jesus answered him with a parable: There once was a king who wanted to settle his accounts with his slaves. One slave owed the king a tremendous amount of money, which he could not repay. When the king summoned him, the slave fell on his face before the throne and begged him for mercy, saying, “Have mercy on me and I will repay you everything.” The king felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. Ironically, not too long after receiving mercy, this very same slave went to one of his fellow slaves to collect only a small debt from him. The servant angrily seized his fellow slave by the throat and began to choke him demanding, “Give me what you owe!” The slave then fell on his face and began begging, “Have patience with me and I will repay you.” However the forgiven servant did not forgive his fellow slave.
Forgiven to Forgive! Synopsis of Matthew 18:28-35 (the same passage).
As we look at the parable above, of course the king in the story represents the Lord Jesus, and each one of us are like the servants. None of us are able to pay our enormous sin debt; it is much too great. Yet our King mercifully decided to take our debts away from us by putting them on His shoulders; our debt was paid in full at the cross. He, in turn, asks us to forgive others. We are forgiven to forgive! King Jesus’ mercy brings freedom, and this freedom is meant to be shared withthose around us. He promises, Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy (Mathew 5:7).
When I compare the two main characters in this parable, the king and the forgiven (yet unforgiving) servant, here are a few questions:
Who am I most like?
Can I really forgive someone that has hurt me?
I know who I want to be most like. But I must realize, I cannot even begin to forgive like King Jesus does, without having HIS POWER within me. I am a natural being, and Christ-like forgiveness is a supernatural act. Without His Spirit in me, I am destined to be controlled by the very real emotions of bitterness, resentment, confusion, hurt, and anger towards my wrongdoer. I must bring these real and raw feelings to the Lord and ask Him to help me deal with them, heal from them, and then ask Him to fill me with His peace. Again, it’s impossible to forgive in my own effort, but NOTHING is impossible with God! (Luke 1:37) He can soften any willing heart. Dear Lord, let it be mine!
I have seen forgiveness beautifully played out in specific people who have experienced some of the most extreme circumstances, and I have to say, these people are some of the most radiant and FREE people on earth. God gave them the ability to forgive, and now He is using them mightily.
Is there someone you are thinking of right now--someone that has hurt you in some way? Reconcile your hurt with the Lord today. Ask Him to help you forgive. He is the One who brings peace to your heart, even if your relationship with this person never changes. Ask Him to flood You with the mercy that flows from His powerful blood. Remember, you are forgiven to forgive.
“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:13
Help us to not view praying as a waste of our precious time. On the contrary, may we humbly realize that prayer multiplies our time because when we lift our requests to you, you do things more powerfully and efficiently than we could ever do on our own. The extra blessing is that we gain peace in our hearts and minds. So today Lord, with thanksgiving, we will take time to pray...Amen.