In Matthew 18:23-34, Jesus tells the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. In this story, Jesus speaks of a man who has a great debt forgiven, but then refuses to forgive his servant of a very small debt. Jesus uses this story to make an important point about forgiveness:
"His lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors, until he should pay all that was due to him. So will my heavenly Father also do to you, if you don't each forgive his brother from your hearts for his misdeeds." (Matthew 18:34-35 WEB)
God has forgiven everyone our massive debts (all our sins), so we are expected to follow his example and forgive others of their individual sins against us. Jesus makes this same point when he teaches his disciples how to pray in what is now called the Lord's Prayer.
"Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors...For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." (Matthew 6:12-14 WEB)
Jesus also says, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." (Matthew 5:7 WEB)
Jesus did more than die for us on the cross, he lived as an example for us to follow. John explains this when he says, "walk just like he walked." (1 John 2:6 WEB)
And how did Jesus walk? "He humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, yes, the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:8 WEB)
Jesus lived humbly before the Heavenly Father as an example for us to follow, obeying even to the point of death on a cross (even though he was innocent) for the penalty of our sins. God calls us to humble ourselves and forgive others while remembering what has been forgiven of us.
This week, if someone sins against you, remember the words of Jesus the night before he was to be crucified. "Not my will, but yours, be done." (Luke 22:42 WEB) Ask God for the humility to let go of your grudges and forgive those in your life.
Holding a grudge is easy; forgiveness is the difficult one. It takes courage and strength to forgive, but the strength is easily found in our humility.
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