October 26, 2007

Matthew 18:21-35 - Forgive, forgive, forgive

How silly to harbor bitterness or grudges against anyone if we have received Christ's forgiveness for our own sins! He paid a price for us that would have cost us our lives and all eternity to pay. He cancelled all our sins. Yet, we still fail to forgive each other sometimes. It doesn't make any difference what a person does to us; we never have the right to withhold forgiveness. I don't think we realize the damage we're doing to ourselves when we refuse to forgive somebody. We are enslaved to our bitterness and it starts seeping into other areas of our lives. Before we know it, it's consumed every area, and the bitterness has such a hold on us, we couldn't even begin to imagine letting go, or allowing it to let go of us!

This is such a powerful parable Jesus tells Peter when Peter asks how many times he should forgive somebody:

"Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talentswas brought to him. 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. "The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'
But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.
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 had 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 18:22-35 NIV

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