Exodus 19-20 Matthew 18:21-35
“Then the master called his servant in and said, ‘You evil servant! Because you begged me to forget what you owed, I told you that you did not have to pay anything. You should have showed mercy to that other servant, just as I showed mercy to you.’” (Matthew 18:32-33)
It’s the most important doctrine in Christianity because all other doctrines we hold are worthless without this one key concept: forgiveness. God forgives us without preconditions. When Jesus died on the cross, He paid the penalty for our sins so that God would forgive us. As Jesus showed in this parable, we’re to reciprocate this forgiveness by forgiving others. We no longer have debtors’ prisons, but back in the day, people who owed a bunch of money could be thrown in prison until they paid their debts. The master in the parable was ready to sell his servant into slavery to pay a million-dollar debt until, moved by mercy, he forgave the servant. The servant, grateful for his release, walked out a free man and came across a guy who owed him a couple of bucks. He was livid about the debt and arranged for this guy to go to prison instead of forgiving him. The passage quoted shows the master’s response.
I don’t know about you, but I have problems with this forgiveness issue. I love the idea that God’s forgiven me, but I still have a hard time forgiving others. I want to hold my grudges. I want to get even. I want revenge whether as a “hot meal” or a cold one. As my anger surges when I’ve been wronged, it sometimes takes God a while to get my attention and remind me that He’s forgiven me far more than He wants me to forgive others. And so, I slink away from the land where holding grudges is the accepted way of living, and return to God’s Kingdom, albeit reluctantly, and try to forgive. I wish I could say it was easy to forgive, but I can’t. What I can say is that God gives me strength to forgive even the most grievous sins against me – especially when I remember how much I’ve sinned against Him.
Lord, forgive me. Help me to forgive others. Give me the strength to do that when I can’t forgive on my own.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.