More LIFE Devotions

LIFE Devotions–June 2, 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. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he
should pay back all he owed.”

–Matthew 18:32-34


It is very easy to see ourselves as victims when others have wounded us. And it feels so right to get even because what they did to us was so wrong. But God's perspective is needed so we don’t end up in a self-made prison of anger and distress. He outlines that the key to forgiveness is where our focus is. When someone hurts us, it is natural to get consumed and concerned with how others have sinned against us. We think about it, turn it around in our heads until our stomachs churn in sour dismay. But notice how our attitude changes when our focus changes from them to us. Answer these questions honestly: Have you ever sinned? Have you ever done something that hurt someone else deeply? Have you done something immoral that no else knows about? What if God would judge you for every sinful thought, word, attitude, action, or omission done publicly or behind closed doors throughout your entire life? Would there be any hope for you? How well would you do before a Holy God? Would you be guilty or innocent? The Bible emphatically says that the wages of sin is death. Separation from God in an eternal hell. But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus His Son. If God who is Holy was willing to give up His dear beloved Son to save you from your sins, why in the world would you ever refuse to forgive someone for the wrong they have committed against you, even if they don’t realize how bad they have hurt you?

The first step towards removing someone’s debt is to remember our own. If we think about our own record of wrongs for a minute, we will soon realize we can't be that quick to throw a stone to address the wrongs of others. This is what removing the plank in our eye to address the speck in my brother's eye is all about. We forgive not because we are righteous but because we have been made righteous despite our sinfulness. Because my own debt was cancelled, I therefore can cancel the debts of others. Mercy received, mercy given. Forgiveness received, forgiveness given. We are instruments of mercy, channels of divine grace. 

– Think about the sins you have committed and how deeply you have grieved God’s heart. How much mercy do you think you need? Are you grateful that God has not exposed you or treated you as you deserve?

– Think about how others have sinned against you. In light of God's mercy towards you, can you lavishly extend mercy to those who have hurt you and release yourself and them from the torment of unforgiveness?

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