Contagious Forgiveness

Scripture Reading — Matthew 18:21-35

“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?” — Matthew 18:32

Some offenses are so deeply hurtful that it can take time and healing to be ready to let them go.

In Jesus’ parable, the debt that the unforgiving servant had built up was a huge one, yet the king had compassion and released him of all obligation. That guy represents you and me. While we were yet sinners, Jesus died for us, to pay the debt for all our sin against God (Romans 5:8-11). We have been set free!

As people who have been given a clean slate, can we, in turn, forgive others who have sinned against us? That’s much easier said than done, especially when the world tells us to stand up for our rights, get revenge, and cut ties with anyone who hurts us. In cases of abuse or danger, we do need to maintain safety, but to hold on to hatred makes us miserable.

There was a man who nearly destroyed my life. It took many years before I could tell him, in the presence of others, that God has helped me to forgive him. In response to God’s grace, how could I not do that?

Forgiveness means loving our enemies. Forgiveness means swallowing our pride. For­give­ness means trusting God with the outcome.

Prayer

Jesus, you understand the pain of betrayal. Yet from the cross, you forgave those who hung you there to die. May we inhale and exhale grace. Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Amen. (BMB)