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The necessity of forgiveness

Are you harbouring unforgiveness in your heart towards an employee, a co-worker, a friend or family member?  Did you know that forgiveness is necessary to love, and by harbouring unforgiveness, you get in the way of people experiencing the love of Jesus?

Let's explore this topic together in today's devotional:

The necessity of forgiveness

“Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’”

– Matthew 18:21-22, NKJV

As businesspeople and stewards, we understand invoices, bills, payments, debt, and what it means to settle an account.  Jesus does too.  In Matthew 18, Jesus responds to Peter’s question with the story of a king who decided it was time to zero out his accounts receivable.   As this king started to tackle each line item, he came to one servant who owed him quite a bit of money.  After realizing that the servant had no way to make the payments, the king gave the order for the servant, the servant’s family, and all of the servant’s possessions to be sold in order to pay the debt.  The servant responded in desperation, falling on his knees and begging for more time to make the payments.  Seeing this, the master’s heart was moved with pity, and in a beautiful act of grace and mercy he forgave the servant all of his debt.  The servant and his family were free!

But what did the servant do with his freedom?  The scene changes, and we find the servant with someone who owes him money.  Seizing this debtor, he begins to choke him, demanding payment in full.  When the debtor pleads for more time, the servant hardens his heart and throws the debtor in jail.  The king, upon learning the servant’s actions, summons his servant again. “You wicked servant!” he cries. “I forgave you all that debt… should you not have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?”  He then throws the wicked servant in jail until the servant can pay all of his original debt.

Jesus ends this story with an important warning: “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” (Matt 18:35).  As believers in Jesus, we must be sure to guard our hearts from unforgiveness!  Like the wicked servant, we were bankrupt before the Lord and desperately in need of mercy.  Our Lord, seeing our desperation, settled our account and paid our debt for us through the blood of His Son Jesus on the cross. 

If we fail to extend the Lord’s forgiveness to others, we disregard the work that was done on the cross and stand in the way of others understanding the unconditional love of Jesus.  We fail to remember our own deep impoverished soul and elevate ourselves above our Savior.

When we decide to forgive those who have wronged us, we:

  • Free our emotion from the slavery of bitterness and resentment
  • Release the hurts that hinder us from healing, restoration, and wholeness
  • Embrace the person or group of people with the unconditional love of Christ
  • “Flush the toilet” of anger, getting rid of the sewage of sin that we have allowed to accumulate in our hearts
  • Can once again walk in the power of God’s mercy, love, and grace
  • Turn away from pride, entitlement, and a worldly concept of fairness, rightly choosing to see our employees, coworkers, friends and family members with eyes of love, mercy, and compassion.

Choosing to forgive opens the doors for God’s love to pour forth from our lives.  We may find that those whom we forgive will be the very people that God uses to bless us.

My prayer for you today is that you will remember what your King did for you when He forgave your debt of sin, and that you will show that same forgiveness to the ones who have wronged you.

Reflection: Forgiving is not a choice but a commandment?

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Posted on Wednesday, 18 November 2020

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