The Necessity of Forgiveness
We have all heard that it is important to forgive, but this is easier said than done. Even minor slights we perceive against us can weigh heavy on our hearts, and grow into bitterness.
Jesus illustrated this very thing in a parable about a servant who owed ten thousand talents of gold to his master. By today's standards, that would be valued in the billions of dollars. His master forgave him of a debt that could never be paid when he pleaded for mercy. However, that servant found a fellow who owed him the equivalent of a hundred days wages and had him put into prison when he couldn't pay the debt. When his lord heard of it, he treated the man who owed billions with the same standard he held against his peer, and had him committed into prison to give an account for his massive debt.
Jesus ended the parable by saying, "So my heavenly Father will do if each of you, from the heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses." Jesus made it clear that we will be judged by the standard we choose. The truth is that we owe a debt of sin that put Jesus on the cross to pay on our behalf; therefore, what sin can others do to us that is greater than this? Even more so, what can be done to us that we have not or would not do to others if the situation were reversed.
When I look at my life, I realize that the good that restrains my behavior is the hand of God working in me, or events in my life that have changed me. If God had left me to my own heart, I would be self-seeking, self-serving, and would disregard others to fulfill my own purposes. Sadly, I still catch myself being self-seeking, self-serving, and disregarding others in my quest to fulfill my own purposes. Who would I be without the restraint God has brought into my life and now into my heart by the Holy Spirit? What if I didn't have the Spirit and had the power to disregard other people without the fear of consequences? Would I be any different than those who ...
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