Forgiven to Forgive
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalms 17:10-15 | Exodus 5:22 – 7:24 | Matthew 18:23-19:12 | Proverbs 5:22-23
Today’s Scripture Focus: Matthew 18:23-19:12
“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant’, he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:32-35).
We are all like the man who owed ten thousand talents. Having accumulated an enormous debt of sin, our only hope is to cry to God for mercy–looking for grace and forgiveness.
Our Heavenly Father freely forgives the debt and sets us free. He is pleased to lavish his grace and mercy upon us.
We are to follow the example of the Father, showing mercy and forgiveness to those who sin against us. Those who receive mercy should be the first to give it to others. We, like the man in the story, must each learn to “forgive your brother from your heart” (35). “Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?”
Yet many who have received mercy from God, act just as the man in the story. They withhold forgiveness–they refuse to forgive from the heart.
Jesus teaches that those who are forgiven must extend forgiveness. It is laid out as a condition for our own forgiveness. This was also the teaching in the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
Forgiveness is not optional for the follower of Christ. It doesn’t matter how great the offense. It doesn’t matter how many times we were sinned against. We must forgive even as we have been forgiven.
You have carried your burden of unforgiveness too long. It is eating you up on the inside. Let it go. It is time to take the offenses to the cross and leave them there. It is time to forgive—really forgive— from your heart.
God of Grace and Mercy, forgive me where I’ve sinned and enable me to forgive those who have sinned against me. Help me to take the offense and the hurt to the cross and help me to leave it there. Help me to find the freedom that comes from receiving and releasing forgiveness. Amen.