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  • Writer's pictureRevShirleyMurphy

Forgiving and Being Forgiven

The servant fell down, did him homage, and said, “Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.” Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. Matthew 18:26–27

This is a story about giving and receiving forgiveness. Interestingly, it’s often easier to forgive than it is to ask forgiveness. Sincerely asking for forgiveness requires that you honestly acknowledge your sin, which is hard to do. It’s hard to take responsibility for what we have done wrong.

In this parable, the man asking patience with his debt appears to be sincere. He “fell down” before his master asking for mercy and patience. And the master responded with mercy by forgiving him the entire debt which was more than the servant had even requested.

But was the servant truly sincere or was he just a good actor? It seems that he was a good actor because as soon as he was forgiven this huge debt, he ran into someone else who actually owed him money and instead of showing the same forgiveness he was shown, “He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’”

Forgiveness, if it is real, must affect everything about us. It is something that we must ask for, give, receive, and give again. Here are a few points for you to consider:

Can you honestly see your sin, experience sorrow for that sin, and say, “I’m sorry” to another?

When you are forgiven, what does that do to you? Does it have the effect of making you more merciful toward others?

Can you in turn offer the same level of forgiveness and mercy that you hope to receive from God and others?

If you cannot answer “Yes” to all of these questions, then this story was written for you. It was written for you to help you grow more in the gifts of mercy and forgiveness. These are hard questions to face but they are essential questions to face if we want to be freed of the burdens of anger and resentment. Anger and resentment weigh heavily on us and God wants us freed of them.

Reflect, today, upon these questions above and prayerfully examine your actions. If you find any resistance to these questions, then focus on what strikes you, take it to prayer, and let God’s grace enter in to bring about a deeper conversion in that area of your life.

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