ABC: Forgiven to Forgive

By Chris Baxter

ABC: Ask and Accept, Believe and Be Bold, Call on Christ, Delightfully Do, Eagerly Exclaim, and now Forgiven to Forgive.

Forgiven to Forgive? One day the disciple Peter asked Jesus to explain forgiveness. Jesus answered him with parable: There once was a king who wanted to settle his accounts with his slaves. One slave owed the king a tremendous amout 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. When the king heard about this lack of mercy, he was enraged. (See Matt. 18:21-35)

Forgiven to Forgive! Jesus told this parable then, and it is recorded for us now. 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 share. 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, I have to ask myself, “Who am I most like?” I know who I want to be most like. But I must realize, I cannot even begin to forgive like the king (Jesus) does, without having HIS POWER within me to do so. 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, anger (…) towards my wrongdoer. I must bring these raw feelings to the Lord and ask Him to help me deal with them, and then 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? Have they wronged you in some way? Reconcile this hurt with the Lord today. 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

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Daily Prayer

Our Light has Come!

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness will cover the earth
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the Lord will rise upon you
And His glory will appear upon you.
Nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:1-3

Dear Lord,

You sent your Son to be the Light of the world. We don't have to walk in darkness, dismay, or doubt. May we use your word as a lamp and your Spirit as our guide to take the next step in our pre-planned-paths. Amen.