Forgiving one another is very hard to do and yet God has asked us to do it for our sake more than His. I have discovered that the struggle of forgiving has much to do with perspective and approach.
But first, lets take a look at the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant told by Jesus in Matthew 18 about a king who wished to settle his accounts with his servants. There was one servant who owed him ten thousand talents (~$6 billion in today’s terms) and could not pay. His master determined to sell him with his wife, children and all that he had in order for payment to be made. The servant fell on his knees, pleading for patience and mercy and it says:
“…out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.” (Matthew 18:27)
Now this is where we come into the story. The same servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii (~$12 thousand in today’s terms) and began choking him while demanding “pay what you owe.” (vs 28). Needless to say, word got back to his master who summoned him and said:
“You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” (Matthew 18:32,33)
The servant was delivered to the jailers until he could pay all his debt. In this parable we are the servant and God is the Master. Jesus goes on to tell us that forgiveness must come from the heart.
The Apostle Paul gives insight on the approach. After reminding us that we are God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, we are to put on:
“compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (Colossians 3:12,13)
God offered forgiveness to all for a debt we could not pay. He gave His Son, Jesus in compassion and kindness for our lost souls.
Who do you most identify with? The wicked servant who refused to forgive or with God who has forgiven you and only asks in return that you do the same for those who owe you a debt? Mercy for mercy.
“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay’, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)
Aim for the blessed life and forgive!