Thursday, December 6, 2007

We Must Forgive

Matthew 18:21 Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how many times could my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?"

I think this is something we have to deal with on a daily basis on our lives, so how would you have answered this question? I think Peter genuinely wanted an answer; he wasn't trying to show how spiritual he was by saying that he would forgive up to seven times, he was looking for the answer. And Jesus answered him with a parable.

There was a slave who owed his master a debt that was so large he would never be able to repay it; in the parable Jesus says that he owed 10,000 talents. A Talent was worth more than 15 years wages for a laborer, so what this man owed would have taken him 15,000 years to repay. The master told the servant that he, his wife , and his children were to be sold to repay the debt, but when the servant begged his master for patience and said that he would repay the debt his master had mercy on him and forgave the entire debt. Then after being forgiven an unpayable debt this same man turned around and had a man who owed him a small debt thrown into prison because he cannot repay.

When you hear this story do you find yourself becoming angry? Do you ask yourself how a man could be forgiven such a large debt and then be so unforgiving to someone who is in a similar circumstance? Well, God asks us that same question every time that we withhold forgiveness. He has forgiven us a debt that all eternity would not be long enough to repay. We were so indebted to God for our sin that is cost Him the life of His Son to erase it, and yet we still hold grudges and withhold forgiveness to people who offend us.

Peter asked Jesus how many times we should be willing to forgive, and Jesus answered "not seven times, but seventy times seven." Jesus didn't mean that we are to forgive 490 times and that's all; He was making the point that we should forgive so often that we loose count. If God has forgiven your sins, you have no right to withhold forgiveness from anyone else; they could not have done anything that is as bad as what we have done to God.

Is there someone you need to forgive today?
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