FORGIVENESS IS THE KEY
Almighty God, in whose love and care I begin and end my journey through this day, I bless your name.
Read MATTHEW 18:21-35
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[a]
23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[b] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[c] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectMake a list of ways in which you feel that life has not been fair in recent times, either to you or to others. Do you need to forgive from your heart?
Today’s parable is not an easy read. It describes the outworking of justice, something most of us would hope to avoid. One debtor is threatened with the loss of his family, another with torture. Neither has anyone else to blame. They are not entitled to forgiveness, and nor are we – not from anyone. And we are not required to judge. Our business is to forgive, in imitation of Christ; but also because – if only we can achieve it – there is no better pair of feelings than to have forgiven someone, and to know that we are forgiven ourselves.
This Christian idea has perhaps been undersold by the church. It is a gift Jesus offers to everyone. It is we, his disciples, who should be demonstrating its releasing power (vs 21,22). Our teaching on forgiveness is surely a pathway to peace and contentment. This is true in a special way for people of faith, but forgiveness is a vital tool for any human life. Only the Lord himself has ever fully mastered the skills and devotion involved, but we can all have a go!
Rejoice in response to the infinitely loving and forgiving heart of Jesus. Share this Christian idea of forgiveness with others as part of the good news of Jesus Christ to the world.
I need this reminder, Lord. You have forgiven me so much. Enable me to always work toward forgiveness in all my relationships.
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