Matthew 18:21-35; Numbers 7-8; Ecclesiastes 6
I get angry when people treat me badly. My eyes narrow, my nostrils widen and I begin to find ways to plot my revenge. In that way, I’m fairly normal. In times like that, God has to remind me that I’m not supposed to be normal. Jesus told a parable about forgiveness. A guy owes his master something like $10,000. The master gives this debtor mercy. The debtor runs across another guy who owes him $1.00. He has that guy thrown into debtor’s prison. The master ain’t too happy about that. “His master called the first servant and said, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you appealed to me. Shouldn’t you also have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’” (Matthew 18:32-33) And that’s why I hate this parable because I realize that I’m the wicked servant here. I’ve been forgiven so much by our amazing God and yet I want to seek vengeance over a relatively small thing. After all I’ve been forgiven, I’m going to hold a grudge and seek revenge against someone who said something bad about me? Oh, how I want justice…for the other guy. For me, I want mercy. And in this story, the words we mouth so piously when we say the Lord’s Prayer, “…forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors…” become real. It’s not that a true Christian never gets angry or wants vengeance. We all react that way. The true Christian finds a way to forgive sooner, rather than later. That is the message of forgiveness we need to remember.
Lord, how I ache to get revenge. How I yearn to see others suffer for their sins, especially when they sin against me. Yet, You call me to forgive. You remind me of how much You have forgiven me and call me to forgive like You. Give me not only the grace to forgive, Father, but also the willingness and the joy in doing so.