Forgiven to Forgive
Bible Reading: Matthew 18:23-35
We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
Listing all the people we’ve harmed will probably trigger a natural defensiveness. With each name we put on our list, another mental list may begin to form—a list of the wrongs that have been done against us. How can we deal with the resentment we hold toward others, so we can move toward making amends?
Jesus told a story: “A king . . . 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” (Matthew 18:23-24). The man begged for forgiveness. “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” (18:27-28). This was reported to the king. “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” (18:32-35).
When we look at all that God has forgiven us, it makes sense to choose to forgive others. This also frees us from the torture of festering resentment. We can’t change what they did to us, but we can write off their debt and become willing to make amends.
The value we place on God’s forgiveness is best measured
by our willingness to forgive others.