The Freedom of Forgiveness
Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?' And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses. Matthew 18:32-35
There is a universal longing for forgiveness. Everyone wants to experience forgiveness extended to us by those we have wronged, to feel that forgiveness received.
As Christians, we think we understand forgiveness because we know that Jesus died so that we could be forgiven from our sins. But do you know what you were forgiven for?
You were forgiven for freedom.
In the story that leads to our verses for today, Jesus tells the story of a king who forgives his servant an insurmountable debt. This servant then, having been forgiven the equivalent of twelve million dollars, immediately goes out and begins to choke a fellow servant who owes him a few bucks, finally throwing him in debtors' prison until the debt is paid.
The other servants who witness all this are so disturbed that they report it to the king who then calls the forgiven servant back. The end of the story is worse for the servant than the beginning, for the king sends him to the torturers as punishment for his lack of compassion toward his fellow servant.
What drives the point home to us is Jesus' very last statement: We are the servants, He is the King, and if we do not forgive others then we will not be forgiven!
Jesus died so that we could be forgiven and free, but that freedom doesn't truly come until we forgive those who have wronged us. If we choose to be like the servant then we are in a prison-a prison of anger, hate, depression, resentment, and bitterness. We are a prisoner of war, missing in action, wounded in the battle.
God wants to set us free, but we hold the keys. Are you willing to forgive?
Prayer Father God,
Thank You for the freedom You want to give me and for the forgiveness You have given me! I choose to forgive those who have hurt me and those I care about, no matter how terrible their actions were. I choose to let You be my Comforter. Please heal my broken heart!