Matthew 18: 21-35
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"
22 Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23 "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.
25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 "The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.'
27 The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 "But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.
29 "His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'
30 "But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.
31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed 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 turned 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 from your heart."
Don't you just love the parables? Sunday I took the opportunity to visit the Baptist church in Pine Mountain. The pastor there spoke on the verses above making contemporary references to the October 2, 2006 Amish school children shooting tragedy and how quickly the Amish were to forgive. They have a lot to teach us about forgiveness and I don't think I had quite grasped the true concept of forgiveness until Sunday.
Forgiveness should be immediate. We shouldn't have to stop and take time to think about it and then decide we will forgive. Forgiveness is not forgetting. You will never forget a wrong thing you did or someone did to you. That act will always come to the surface one way or another. Forgiveness is coming to the point that you no longer need to be punished for what you did or feel the need to punish someone for what they did to you. If we could learn to forgive immediately living our lives in a continuous state of complete forgiveness we would save ourselves a lot of grief for sure.
I think for the longest I've been confusing forgiveness and forgetting. My prayer to God today is one of thankfulness for His gift of forgiveness to me and the lessons of forgiveness He has left for us to study and grow from.