I Forgive You!

I was reminded again this week of the importance of 'keeping' our eyes on God's commandments. Sailors have a term 'keeping the stars,' which means that they continually watch the stars as a guide for their travel. In the same way, Christ's commandments are 'stars' that guide us in the way we should go in this life successfully.
This week's command is especially important in making sure that we run the course successfully. The command 'Forgive Offenders' is explained in Matthew 18:21-22, "Then came Peter to Him and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times, but until seventy times seven."
I often have this attitude of, 'If I keep forgiving they will never learn their lesson! And I must let them know how much they hurt me (with the silent treatment, disapproving looks, etc.)
One person said, 'Forgiving seven times puts our focus on the offender, but forgiving seventy times seven times forces us to focus on God's forgiveness of ALL our sins.' So true.
Remember the parable about the unmerciful servant? Maybe we need a refresher, it has many rich insights. (Matt. 18:23-24)
-"Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants..." God will one day judge both the believer and non-believer for what that have done on earth (II Cor. 5:10)
-"And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents...the servant therefore fell down and worshiped, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all..."
Ten thousand talents is the equivalent of 3.6 billion dollars today, that amount would have been impossible to pay back, and isn't that a wonderful picture of our sin before God? There is no way that we can earn our way into heaven, yet like this servant we often try to use our own efforts to do only what He can do for us.
-"Then the lord of the servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt..." Praise God. "And herein is love, not that we loved God, but that God loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (I John 4:10).
We are that undeserving servant who God mercifully plucked out of eternal condemnation, forgiving the debt we could never pay. God is good.
-"But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him a hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest..." O, how I see myself in this wicked servant! He has been forgiven so much yet cannot have mercy on someone who has offended him a little. I often lose sight of what God has done for me and demand that others around me treat me fairly or else I will be angry.  If our perspective is on ourselves we can't forgive, but if we are focusing on Christ and what He did for us, we can't help but to forgive. "If any of you have a quarrel against any, even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye" (Colossians 3:13).
-"Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: shouldst not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him unto the tormentors until he should pay all that was due unto him."
Oftentimes we try to punish people by not forgiving them, but actually we are imprisoning ourselves. One person said, "Bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."Unforgiveness and bitterness lead to a host of spiritual and physical problems.  The wicked servant could be out of his bondage if he would just forgive all that was 'due unto him.' If we forgive others, we free ourselves from the torment of being disobedient to God and our own bitterness.
Rudy Tomjanovich was a four-time NBA All-star who was on his way to another award-winning season.  In one game, the score was tied and a scuffle started between a player from the opposing team and a player from his team. He immediately began running full-speed over to the scene, when another player saw him and whirled around and drove his fist into his face. Rudy was knocked backwards and laid unconscious. The doctors said the impact was like someone slamming into a windshield at 50 mph. His face was so broken up that his jaw misaligned, his whole skull got knocked out of place and even his tear ducts collapsed. After many surgeries he tried to get back into the game he loved but could not get back to where he was. He learned to forgive the man that punched him and did not hold a grudge, because someone had told him, "Not forgiving him is like drinking poison and expecting him to die", and he always remembered those words. (taken from Choosing Forgiveness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss)
We have a choice to forgive those who offend us, don't wait until you feel like forgiving or until your emotions are ready...they won't be. Obey and forgive (I know, easier said than done.)
-Am I still holding a grudge against someone who has deeply hurt me?
-Am I focusing on God's mercy towards me?
-How can I invest in my offender's life?
"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:31-32).
Notes adapted from IBLP Commands of Christ study guide and pocket guide

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