Forgiveness is a critical pillar in the life of a healthy man or woman. Numerous studies describe the negative effect unforgiveness has on our entire being.
The longer we hold onto unforgiveness, the more time we give bitterness to take root in our lives. Bitterness will destroy all peace, joy, and purpose in life.
It’s often our misunderstanding of what forgiveness is that keeps us bound to the painful actions of others. Yet, there is a grace that embraces us and paves the way to healing when we choose to forgive.
Forgiveness is not ignoring what was said or done, nor pretending as if it didn’t happen, but releasing others from the debt that Jesus paid in full!
Out of the ashes of your brokenness, God will bring forth something beautiful. You can’t always see it from within the pain, but it will become clear on the backside of forgiving.
In Matthew 18, Jesus shares a parable illustrating the power of forgiving and the consequences of not forgiving others. This is a critical lesson to learn and practice because of its ramifications on our lives as Christians.
Peter’s statement initiates Jesus’ parable as Peter attempts to show Jesus how much more spiritual he is than the most spiritual leaders of his day. When you feel the need to show people how spiritual you are, you are not that spiritual.
At this time, the consensus among Rabbi’s was that you were to forgive a brother three times but were not obligated beyond that point to forgive. By bragging that he would forgive a brother seven times, Peter was more than doubling the prescribed limits of the day’s religious elites.
There is no end to God’s forgiveness for you!
19 He will again have compassion on us; he will tread out iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19
Jesus responds to Peter by telling him to forgive 77 times. The focus is on the idea of not keeping track of how many times we forgive but granting forgiveness without limits.
In His parable, Jesus describes a servant, whom we will call Dave, who’s summoned to square up his account with his boss.
This worker was in debt of 10,000 talents. Although the exact value can’t be known, the estimate by today’s standard was in the millions. The emphasis is on his inability to pay it back. That’s the focus of Jesus’ illustration.
Dave knows he cannot pay back his master. As a result, he, his wife, and child, and everything they own will be sold to collect a small percentage of his debt.
In desperation, Dave drops to his knees and begs for mercy. Then in a plot twist, no one saw coming, we read, “And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.” Matthew 18:27
Dave is no longer responsible for paying the debt back, ever!
This is what Jesus did for us! By accepting Jesus’ gift of forgiveness, you are exonerated of all sin! You receive a full pardon! As a bonus, God forgets it entirely!
As we live out our faith, this truth must be a motivating factor in life.
Being forgiven should alter how we live, who we live for, what we live for, and how we treat others!
But that’s when we are introduced to an even more shocking plot twist. After receiving this life-changing news, Dave leaves and, in celebration, seeks out his employee, who owed him 100 denarii.
One hundred denarii was insignificant to the 10,000 talents he owed. The man begs of him for more time in the same fashion as he begged his master. But instead of granting mercy and forgiving his debt, he has him thrown into jail until he can pay it off.
Word reaches the master who pardoned Dave and calls him back in. Immediately, the master says, “You wicked servant.” The word wicked means evil, malicious—the worst of the worst.
Dave is thrown into jail to pay for his debt because he was unwilling to show mercy and forgive. This parable reveals that forgiveness is a big deal to God!
When forgiving others, don’t look at the size of their sin but reflect on the amount of sin God has forgiven you!
Forgiven people forgive.
In some cases, forgiveness is a process we must work through. That process must bring us to the place of forgiving.
We forgive not because we no longer hurt but because God has forgiven us without hesitation or reservation.
Is there is someone that you need to forgive? Don’t waste another moment. Your healing and freedom from that painful experience hinge on forgiveness.
Forgive because you’ve been forgiven!