Forgiveness is not always a natural thing because when we are wronged it is often so hard to forget the wrong done to us. People can do some awful things to us that make forgiveness seem impossible. The only way that I am able to have forgiveness in my heart is because of my faith in God. I learn about forgiveness in the Bible.
Even with my faith in God, it is quite a challenge because I cannot forget some of the terrible things done to me. I think it is easier when a person apologizes and seeks forgiveness, but so many times that does not happen. Most people that I have had to choose to forgive did not seek forgiveness and they may not even know that I have forgiven them because they are no longer in my life. Forgiveness in the Bible is strongly illustrated in a parable of Jesus found in Matthew 18.
How can I embrace the wonderful gift of forgiveness that God offers, if I myself am unwilling to forgive others? Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a king wishing to settle his accounts with his slaves in Matthew 18:23-25. He has one slave who owes him 10,000 talents (that would be anywhere from 10-15 million in today’s dollars). The slave of course could not repay the debt and the king wanted him to be sold with his wife, children, and all that he had until he could repay the debt. The slave then begged the king for more time. The king was so moved with compassion that he released him and forgave his entire debt.
A Chance to Show Forgiveness
You would think this slave would be so grateful that he would want to pay it forward, but that is not the case. The slave actually has the audacity to go out to a fellow slave that owed him a fraction of the debt he had been forgiven, and had him thrown in jail because he could not pay. The fellow slave asked for the same compassion as this slave had asked for and received, but the slave did not give it. Other slaves saw this and they were grieved by the incident so they reported it to the king. The king was outraged by his slave’s behavior and confronted him. This time there would be no mercy for the slave because he had not shown mercy to his fellow slave. The passage ends with Jesus saying in Matthew 18:35, “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”
This parable really speaks to me. I do not want to be like that slave that showed no compassion even though he had received even more compassion since his debt was greater. After giving the disciples instruction on how to pray, Jesus says in Matthew 6:14, “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” I certainly do not want to take for granted the awesome gift I have in God’s forgiveness. I need to forgive.
A Time for Forgiveness?
Oftentimes forgiveness is not so much about the other person as it is about us. If we are not willing to show forgiveness, it affects us and keeps our hearts dark and cold. A person that we refuse to forgive has power over our lives because of it. We can spend time feeling bitter and resentful over someone and that person may have no idea. That person’s life goes on just fine, but we suffer. The Bible teaches us about forgiveness. Matthew 18 shows the importance of forgiving as we have been forgiven. We should forgive as we have been forgiven. Do you have someone in your life that you have not forgiven? Perhaps now is the time for forgiveness.
“Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright (C) 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.”
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