Reason to Forgive

Strong opinions lead to confrontation. Innocent people are wronged, and hatred grows toward those who force their control over others. Most of us have experienced such conflict.

There was a man who was personally offended by the choices and actions of another. As is often the case, he was proud of what he had accomplished, and now another person was making changes that seemed to undo all that he had achieved. In his anger he declared, “I will never forgive!” His friends counseled him to forgive even though it wouldn’t change the other person’s actions, but he refused. He carried that load of unforgiveness the rest of his days.

We read of another servant who owed the king millions of dollars. When the king came to settle accounts, the servant could not pay. The master of that servant commanded that he, his wife and children should sold into slavery. The servant begged for time to repay. The master, realizing that he could never repay the debt, had compassion and forgave him the loan. The servant went out a free man.

But then the servant found a fellow servant that owed him a hundred dollars and grabbed him and started choking him and said, “Pay what you owe!” This fellow servant begged him, “Please be patient with me and I will pay you back” but he wasn’t willing and threw his fellow servant into prison until the debt was paid.

Word got back to the master and he called the servant who had been forgiven. “I forgave you of a debt that you could never repay, shouldn’t you have had compassion on your fellow servant as I had mercy on you?” The servant was handed over to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay everything that was owed.

Followers of Christ have experienced the forgiveness of their debt of sin. Those who have not chosen to follow Christ still carry a debt too large to ever repay. Seek God’s forgiveness while you still can. No amount of good deeds will ever cancel the debt of our sin against God, yet He freely offers us complete forgiveness and He commands that we forgive those around us. The consequences of saying “I will never forgive” are dire. We must extend mercy remembering that we have been forgiven much.

So the best reason to forgive is because we have been forgiven.