Reading: Matthew 18:21-35
“In anger his master turned 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 from your heart” (vv. 34-35).
In a previous post I have touched briefly on love and forgiveness—that the “how to’s” are not missed out from the Word of God and it’s not all just concepts. I also mentioned that even when loving emotions are difficult to summon, by heeding God’s instructions and just doing what is right, tender emotions should not be slow to follow. We know that with some effort we all could go through the motions of loving-kindness, but we worry that they may be superficial and not from our heart, that we may be phony and not sincere.
I am writing here an excerpt from an entry in my journal at the start of 2006—this was before I learned blogging, and my craze was notebooks (yes, that made of paper), gel pens and coloured pencils (the love hasn’t worn out!):
“What does forgiveness mean? What does it entail? When I say I forgive a person—what am I supposed to feel? There is always a remembrance of the offense and the pain.
“When God forgave me, He washed away my sins. He wiped me clean. He’s made my heart as white as snow. He gave me another chance—despite my track record, despite the sinful nature that is still in me. He keeps forgiving me and cleansing me.
“When I was a sinner and did not deserve God’s goodness, He died for me—He bought me from the enemy.”
A year ago I also came across a post by a Torah/Old Testament teacher that discussed the subject of forgiveness—this really helped drive the point to me. I summarised her post in the following statement: “Love is a choice. It is doing what is holy, what is right; it is being humble (i.e., recognising my own fallibility), and correcting in love.”
By not forgiving, I am putting myself above reproach—but I am a sinner myself, much worse than many others, so I have no excuse not to forgive. And just thinking of what the Lord Jesus has done for me—the Lamb of God slain for the forgiveness of my sins—how can I continue to harden my heart to those who have sinned against me?