It always amazes me how a series planned long ago “happens to” bring us into a particular text which turns out to be perfect for the situation in our community that Sunday.
For example, last week’s text was the parable of the unmerciful servant found in Matthew 18:23-35. The parable is a clear message from Jesus with rich application to violence in S.C. & next door:
– the servant did not truly repent from the heart
– without experiencing biblical forgiveness, he could not give it
– he was left in prison being tortured
This is what happens when we try to walk with Jesus without true repentance. We may not really own our sin. We may not believe our destination is hell. We may not understand God’s desire to save us.
If you have any doubt on this, go to God right now. Ask him to show you your true situation with him. Reflect on Psalms 32 and 51.
What flows from true repentance? It’s true forgiveness. He who has been forgiven much loves much. When we experience the relief of being truly forgiven, it opens up our heart to forgive others.
The text shows us three elements of true forgiveness in verse 27: take pity on the other person, cancel the debt, and let them go.
These steps were displayed powerfully in the wake of the racist murders in Charleston by the people at Emanuel AME church, and in the apology of the Madisonville shooter’s believing father.
As we struggled Sunday with all this hurt, this text and the examples of other believers provided perfect illustration and testimony.
Take pity means literally “heart goes out to”. It’s the most prominent of the emotions exhibited by Jesus. Its about identifying with the other person and knowing I am capable of similar evil.
Having identified with the other, step two is to cancel the debt. This means absorb the debt. In the costly pain of forgiving, we absorb the debt and as a result our hearts soften. Lack of forgiveness makes us hard.
Let them go means to set them free and bless them. (More on blessing those who hurt us this coming Sunday.)
May we be a church of “repenting repenters” and “forgiven forgivers” who live from humble hearts in genuine relationship repair!
From the heart, in Jesus, Denis