St. John's Lutheran
Freedom comes in Receiving and Giving Forgiveness!
Matthew 18:31-35 New International Version (NIV)
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.” Saturday, August 15 - Matthew 18:31-35
The end of this parable seems extremely harsh and it is. It should be frightening to
all of us who claim to follow Jesus. Forgiveness is no small thing. It is the heart of
what God is doing in the world. Forgiveness is the practical application of grace to a
particular person in a particular time and place. What Jesus warns us about here is
that if we are unwilling to die to our scorekeeping and grudge holding ways then
God will allow us to live in that prison because, after all, that is what unforgiveness
is. Sometimes we withhold forgiveness and live with anger, resentment and hostility
and the other person has no clue. They are freely going about their lives with no
idea that we are upset. This might anger us even more because we think that they
should know why we are upset and that they should be contrite and remorseful. To
use a phrase from Jesus, we are the one’s in “darkness” who are “weeping and
gnashing” our teeth. The key to freedom is receiving and giving forgiveness.