This was the beginning of confronting my heart issue, and what I saw was hard to acknowledge. I had been desperately hurt yet God expected me to forgive, just like that! It seemed so unfair!
God had taken me to this parable 3 times in 3 days, and I couldn’t put this down to coincidence. I felt like Samuel, and I needed to say ” speak Lord, for your servant is listening”. (1 Samuel 3:10)
So I went back to that parable. That shocking picture in Matthew 18 of the servant who had been forgiven such a huge debt. The forgiveness of that kind King had saved him, saved his family, saved his life – the debt was paid in full with no record kept. How that man must have felt like he was walking on air coming out of the king’s palace – all debt wiped clean. It was as though that servant never had a debt in the first place. The record of wrong was gone.
We can look at this story and think how terrible that servant was for being so ungracious and unforgiving, but we are all that servant if we don’t forgive one another. God has loved and forgiven us so much. We don’t deserve that forgiveness, We deserve hell and alienation from God. I began to realise that if I didn’t show forgiveness I was like that unmerciful servant. Jesus commands us to forgive, just as he has forgiven us. If we refuse to, bitterness binds around our heart and mindset and robs us of joy and relationship with God.
Mark 11:25 says:
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your father also who us in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
Matthew 6 :14 says:
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will forgive you also.
Colossians 3:13 says:
Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
So I came to realise that if we love God, we must model Jesus however hard this is. And that meant forgiving, no matter what response we get back. To me, this felt like getting into a big ice bath and being asked to put my shoulders under.
But I knew with my whole heart that my attitude and heart was wrong. And I asked God for help.
When I eventually got to the place of asking the Lord to bless the person I once wanted to curse, I knew that I had forgiven. It was a liberating and a wonderful place to be, and God is waiting to help and sustain all of us who desire to do what is right before him.
God is an amazing God, who by his grace changes our mindset and our hearts. But it’s a choice that we have to take. We need to work out our responses with an understanding that God expects us to forgive, as he has forgiven us. If we stubbornly refuse to forgive others, when we have been forgiven so much, there are consequences for the actions we decide to take. For that unmerciful servant The King responded like this:
Then the master called the servant in.” You wicked servant,” he said “I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
This is how my Heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.
With all of this knowledge about forgiveness in my heart and mind, I was now cruelly confronted with my husband’s adultery ; my life had been smashed to pieces, I had lost my home, my church and my community. I knew what was right before God, I had learned to submit to God once before the hard way, and God had already taught me about the consequences of not forgiving. I had to grant forgiveness and pray that God would help my emotions catch up with my will.
Thank you Lord that you are gracious and compassionate, and love to forgive contrite sinners.
Thank you for the Lord Jesus who was willing to suffer so much so that we can know that forgiveness.
Help us to forgive others because you have forgiven me so much.
Thank you for your Spirit which helps us to say ” No” to ungodliness and enables us to live in a way that’s pleasing to you.
Help us to live like him day by day, and as we will put on that full armour of God we will resist the devil’s fiery darts.