HOW MANY TIMES?
Read: Matthew 18:28-35
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ 30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 “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. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (NIV Matthew 18:28-35)
Study: With his enormous debt forgiven, Jesus said, the servant breathed a huge sigh of relief, and then spotted someone who owed him about 100 days’ wages. He demanded payment on the spot, and when that debtor pleaded for mercy, he refused and had the man imprisoned. His attitude and his actions made it clear that he didn’t understand, or truly value, the mercy the king had showed to him. Have you ever been in a situation where you or another person received mercy and forgiveness, yet found it hard to extend that to another person? What inner factors too often make that characteristic of us as humans? How can taking in God’s forgiveness over time transform us so that we can forgive others as we have been forgiven? Sometimes it bothers us that Jesus seemed to say God will not forgive us unless we forgive others. In what ways does God’s generosity in forgiving and restoring you change how you see yourself, and prompt you to be generous toward others who have wronged you?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you gave up so much in order to reach me with your forgiveness. Help me to accept and value that gift, and to be more forgiving toward myself and others in my life. Amen