“So, My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” Matthew 18:35
This is such an excellent principle and one I should have listed when I wrote about the kingdom of heaven ways a few days ago. Forgiveness! In today’s society, there is little of it. Most people are more concerned about what they have a right to be angry about. Even Christians, surprisingly are quick to find fault and hold on to offense as if we have never made a mistake.
There are two sides to every story. In today’s reading, we see these two sides. A man owed the king a great amount. In those times, if you didn’t have funds, you could pay off a debt in a variety of ways such as: work off the dept, be sold to pay for the debt, sell all your belongings or your family. There was no interest over time back then. This man asked for forgiveness and was granted a pardon. The king had compassion, he was a good and kind king. Compassion points to kindness in a heart.
The same man who had just been forgiven and pardoned, found someone who was in debt to him and because of having a hard heat, he grabbed him by the throat and threatened him if he didn’t pay off all that is owed. When the king heard about it, he became angry and returned the debt back on to the unforgiving man. So now he had to pay the debt back through torture. Yikes!
On one side of the story, the man asked for forgiveness and got it. On the other side, the same man is asked for forgiveness and does not give it. Does this sound familiar? When we go to God in heaven and ask for forgiveness and invite Jesus into our life, He freely forgives. Now it is expected and required that we forgive all others the same as we were forgiven. Whether a greater or smaller offense, we are to forgive with compassion just as we were forgiven. No more holding on to the offense of hurting my pride, my feelings or my body physically. We are commanded to forgive just as we are forgiven.
This does not have to be hard. If you decide and plan ahead of time that you are going to forgive others just as you were forgiven, you will begin to practice it in your everyday life. You put on kindness and wear it wherever you go. You decide that you are going to be kind and love all other people because of who you are and who you belong to, not because of what others have done to deserve your kindness. The truth is none of us are deserving of anything good. We have all missed it at one time or another. So now our job is to offer grace and compassion to draw lost and offended people into the kingdom.
Today I want to encourage you to forgive. Make the decision that you are going to live a life of God’s grace and forgiveness. Practice kindness to all people in your daily life. Make an intentional decision to treat others the way God treats you. He has compassion on you each day and He is always looking out for your good, not to do evil to you. Put away this mindset that says: “I’ll be nice to them if they are nice to me.” Thank goodness God didn’t have that attitude, He loved us before we were His family, He loved and died for us while we were still sinners, far from anything good and walking in rebellion. He has compassion on us because of who He is, not who we are. Love others today and keep loving them until they turn from evil and run to the goodness of God’s unconditional love.
Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 18:21-35
21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.
25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.
26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’
27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.
28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’
29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’
30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.
31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done.
32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me.
33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’
34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”