Truths About Forgiveness
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” (Colossians 3:12-13, emphasis added)
This thought is explained in detail in Matthew 18:23-35. Jesus tells a parable of a master whose servant owed Him ten thousand talents (vs. 24). The servant fell on his knees and begged his master’s forgiveness (vs.26). The master was moved with compassion and promptly forgave his servant (vs. 27). The servant immediately went out and found another servant who owed him a mere one hundred pence and violently demanded that he pay him (vs. 28). We see a similar picture of the servant with his master: the debtor fell on his knees and begged the other servant to be patient with him (vs. 29). It seems like the servant who had just been forgiven his ten thousand talents would have compassion. Instead, he threw his debtor into prison (vs. 30). When the master heard how his servant had treated his debtor, he was angry and delivered him to the tormentors (vs. 31-34). Jesus concludes this parable with, “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” (Matthew 18:35)
I think that many of us would like to defend our case and, like Peter, ask, “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?” (Matthew 18:21) Surely we have been patient enough! Surely, we have borne enough wrong at their hand! However, Jesus replied, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:22) As children of God, we are commanded to forgive others. We are the man who owed ten thousand talents and Jesus Christ our Master freely forgave us our debt. Will we, in return, turn to our “fellow-servant” with unforgiveness, bitterness, and grudges towards their “debt of one hundred pence”? Or will we remember how compassionate Christ was towards us, and freely forgive others’ sins against us? As with all of God’s commands, He gives the strength to obey His command to forgive others, but He also allows us to make the choice whether or not we will obey.
. . . to be continued next week . . .