Forgiving someone can sometimes be one of the hardest things to do in life. When we’re deeply hurt, whether physically or emotionally, it can be very difficult to extend forgiveness.
This week at Lake Murray Community Church we studied The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. It’s a very challenging parable—one that brings us back to a searching of our own hearts. But as challenging as the parable is, it promises rich blessing to those who sit at Jesus’s feet to learn from Him.
In this week’s story, a king forgives a servant’s enormous debt because the servant pleaded for mercy. But immediately after this servant was forgiven of his gigantic debt—a debt he could never pay in his lifetime—he went looking for one of his co-servants who owed him just over three months worth of wages, and he demanded his money. Although his co-servant also pleaded for mercy, this wicked servant was unwilling to extend it.
When the king receives word of his wasted compassion, he sends for the wicked servant and hands him over to jailers who have the responsibility of administering severe torture. And at the very end of the story, Jesus says, “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart” (Matt. 18:35, italics mine).
These are very challenging words…
But it’s exactly why a little child was present before Jesus even gave the story.
I have a two-and-a-half-year-old and a one-year-old at home. Without fail, almost on a daily basis, the two-and-a-half-year-old pushes over his little brother, who’s just now getting the hang of walking. After my wife and I correct him we tell him to say “I’m sorry” to his little brother.
And when this happens, that little one-year-old doesn’t even hesitate—he reaches up to his big brother with open arms. Why? Because that’s what children do; they don’t hold grudges.
This is exactly what we’re to do, too. But if we’re going to be a people who forgive from the heart, it’s going to require childlike humility. The problem with being childlike is that we’re all grown up, but if we can humble ourselves before the Lord, we will not only be able to forgive from the heart—setting aside justice and extending the same grace we’ve received in Christ—we will also be able to free ourselves from the torturous torment of bitterness.
Indeed, the great blessing is for those who forgive.
-Pastor Marttell Sánchez