December 10, 2016
"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." >Matthew 18:32-34
God doesn't ask us to forgive others because it's the natural thing to do. He doesn't ask us to forgive because it's the easy route to take. He doesn't call us to offer forgiveness because it is immediately satisfying. He calls us to forgive others because our relationship with Him is based on the fact that He has forgiven us.
The servant in today's passage owed much and received pardon from a gracious master. He then found a person who owed him little and demanded the payment. He received much but was unwilling to give even a little. The grace-recipient was unwilling to be a grace-giver.
We like to talk about forgiveness as lifting the burden, freeing the soul, being sprung from the prison of bitterness. All of those may be fitting descriptions of the act of forgiveness, but that's not where we should start. We should start with the straightforward command of Scripture to forgive others just as God in Christ has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32). We should forgive others because God tells us to forgive others. We should forgive others because it reflects the glory of God!
Father, may we who have been forgiven much forgive much. In Jesus' name. Amen.