PLEASE READ THIS FIRST: Matthew 18:28-35
What do you sense the Lord saying to you in this passage?
“Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” (Matthew 18:33)
Jesus reminds us of the connection between forgiving, and being forgiven (Matthew 6:12).
We are on the bridge of forgiveness with God.
If we hack it down to keep others from crossing, we go down too.
If mercy is how we get to cross, shouldn’t others be allowed to cross that way too.
Our problem is that we tend to maximize others’ sins, and minimize our own.
We admit our sins… but they’re not as bad as THAT person’s sins.
‘Look what they did to me, look how they have hurt people.’
While we were yet sinners, God forgave us in Christ… before we repented.
Repentance is the key to enjoying God’s forgiveness.
Like God, we forgive others in the hope that they would repent (admit their offense).
No, they do not deserve it, but neither did we.
Repentance is still essential for experiencing God’s forgiveness.
But grace is the way of bringing sinners to repentance, helping them see the bridge.
Will I join Jesus in sharing the bridge of forgiveness to those who need it, like me?
Lord, whenever I am tempted to hold a grudge, or refuse to forgive, remind me of the gently swaying bridge of mercy upon which I myself and standing.
In some abuse survivor circles forgiveness is the ‘f’ word.
It has been weaponised against us by christians.
“Have you forgiven your abuser yet?”
“How can you be angry at them when Jesus forgives you?”
“Your abusers expressed repentance, you must forgive them.” (often with no real sign of remorse just tears because they got caught)
“Forgive and forget”
Because when we forgive someone, no matter how terrible their deeds, it is an automatic magic cure for anything anyone had ever done to me…. blah, blah, blah….
Yes, this reading touched a nerve.
Yet I believe forgiveness is important. I am grateful for being forgiven. My goal is to forgive easily with grace.
But some of my forgiveness choices are years long, painful, hard fought, repeated battles as I suffer through the residues of people choosing to abuse me.
In these verses one servant is angry because his fellow has not repaid him. How do you feel when people borrow money or items and don’t return them? We talk these days about standing up for yourself, keeping boundaries, not letting people get away with their bad behaviours (for their own good). Where does that fit with forgiveness? Do you give the one you forgive, money again? Do you give the person another chance to not return something else?
What does forgiving really mean?
I praise You Jesus for making it possible to be forgiven. I am grateful. Please Jesus enable me to always desire and choose to forgive others and to walk with grace. Amen.
Service and doing things for others is not a duty – it is a gift of gratitude. I have been forgiven so much, so shouldn’t I express my gratitude by forgiving, by blessing others so that they too may experience grace? Lord forgive me for being too close fisted – help me to open my hands to give to others as you have given all for me!
‘forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us’ is our prayer. God forgave me and I must do the same.
This imitates what the Lord has done for me. Others need to see Christ living in me.
I need to be like Christ unto others.
It is He that can bring this about in my living for Jesus.
Be a peacemaker.
Be a stepping stone and not a stumbling block in showing the grace of God in my life so I can show that grace to those around me.
Grace and truth shall mark the way
Where the Lord His own will lead,
If His Word they still obey
And His testimonies heed.
For Thy Name’s sake hear Thou me,
For Thy mercy, Lord, I wait;
Pardon my iniquity,
For my sin is very great.
He who walks in godly fear
In the path of truth shall go;
Peace shall be his portion here,
And his sons all good shall know.
They that fear and love the Lord
Shall His holy friendship know;
He will grace to them accord,
And His faithful covenant show.