Because He Forgave Me
Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt. But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full. When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.” (Matthew 18:21-35, NLT)
There’s not a lot that needs to be added as Jesus painted a very clear picture of how the Lord views forgiveness. As humans, we see the weight of the infection not the weight of the obedience to the Word. Somehow the greater the offense the more right we feel we have to withhold forgiveness. However,forgiveness was not attained by us, it was through the blood of Jesus on the cross that made it possible for us not only to be recipients but also givers of forgiveness. We can’t nor shouldn’t withhold what we never earned the right to control. No matter what we have done as far as sin is concerned, large or small in societies eyes, is of no difference. The cost was Jesus’ life, the price was the same for all of us, and so the responsibility to dispense it as the same as well. If we want to continue to receive grace and mercy, forgiveness then just as we received it as unworthy as we were, we must also give it. It is not a suggestion that Jesus is giving, it’s a commandment. Our feelings and thought really are of no consequence when weighed against the Word of God.
We have to come to terms with the reality that no one was righteous, not even one. We all were sinners in need of salvation and atonement and Christ willingly paid the price. There were not degrees or stipulations, he simply gave his life as an act of love, and he commanded us not to withhold forgiveness purchased by his blood to others. So seeing that we will never be justified to refuse to release someone, and that we ourselves had a burden no man could lift. That we are in error against the Word, and then ourselves will not be forgiven if we do not obey, I think the choice is clear. He forgave you, and you must forgive others. If you stay in the perspective of gratefulness when you consider your own debt, you’ll find it much easier to forgive others.
“Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs” Proverbs 19:11.
Pastor Natalie Snider