READ : Matthew 18:21-35
And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. (v. 27)
Forgiven by his master of a million-dollar debt, the
ungrateful servant promptly goes
out and has a fellow servant thrown in jail because of a
ten-dollar IOU. The lesson
couldn’t be clearer: If God is willing to forgive you,
then how dare you withhold your
forgiveness from others?
So why aren’t more Christians known for their ability
to forgive? Why do we keep
breaking God’s heart and hurting ourselves by being
unforgiving? One reason is that having
an enemy we believe is wrong can make us feel right.
Refusing to forgive people who hurt
us is how we punish them. But there is a terrible side
effect: we become bitter, angry,
and resentful. Refusing to forgive is a boomerang that
has a sinister way of circling back
at us. We become the victims of our own bitterness.
That’s why losing an enemy can be as upsetting as
losing a friend. When you lose your enemy, you lose the
adrenaline rush of anger. Gone is the satisfaction of
self-righteousness and the pleasure of victimhood.
When we refuse to forgive we lose the opportunity to be
free of the resentment that sucks the sweetness out of
life and causes God such sorrow. “Be kind to one
another,” says Ephesians, “tenderhearted, forgiving one
another, as God in Christ forgave you” (4:32).
Help me to start my life anew, O God, loving as
I am loved, and forgiving as I am forgiven. Amen.