Recently I was reading the story of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:23-35, and it really struck me that the servant did not ask his master to cancel his debt. He asked him for more time to repay the debt. But the debt was more than he could ever hope to repay, so the master had compassion on him and cancelled the debt.
From the way the story continues, I don’t think the servant believed that the debt was cancelled. It seems that he was still trying to repay the debt on his own. He went to his fellow servant and tried to get what he was owed. That servant asked for more time, just as the first servant had, but rather than showing compassion, he had him thrown in prison until he could pay his debt.
The other servants saw this and reported it to their master and the master had that unmerciful servant thrown in jail until he could pay back all he owed.
I started wondering how many believers have received God’s forgiveness but are still trying to repay the debt that can’t be paid. We know our good works won’t get us into heaven, but are we living that way? Only God can see our heart and judge the attitudes of our hearts. We need to ask Him to reveal to us if there is any part of our hearts that hasn’t truly accepted His gift of forgiveness. Ask Him if we are still trying to repay the debt that He has already paid.
Of course, the main point Jesus was making with the story is that we need to forgive others as God forgave us. So many people struggle to really forgive. I believe if we realised how much God forgave us, we would be ready to forgive others.
Forgiveness is often a process, and I don’t mean to imply that we should just say the words, but as we give the pain to Jesus and are willing to walk in forgiveness, we can forgive with our whole hearts. This process is much easier if we really understand how much we have been forgiven.
Prayer: Lord, please search my heart and show me what is hidden. Help me to see if I am still feeling that I need to repay my debt rather than truly receiving Your forgiveness. Help me to really know Your forgiveness deep in my inner being, and from that place help me to also be able to forgive everyone who has hurt me. Amen.
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