Forgiveness is such a blessing as was seen in last week’s article. Having the patience to forgive others is one some find hard to put into practice. It is contrary to the world’s idea of how men should interact.
How dare someone cause harm to me and expect forgiveness! Holding a grudge is a way of life with some, never forgetting a wrong, always ready to bring up old “hatchets” at a moment’s notice.
This is not the way Christians are supposed to act.
Christians must realize how great a debt was forgiven them when they obeyed God. The servant in the parable was so relieved when he was forgiven by his master.
What a relief he must have felt.
Yet his worldly nature burst out when he dealt with his fellow servant.
Paul wrote, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Rom. 5:6 – 10).
The attitude of the forgiven servant was that forgiveness was just for him, not for him to show to others. His attitude in no way conveyed the mercy he had received from his master.
Patience and understanding go hand in hand with learning to forgive others. They may not always live up to one’s expectations. But those expectations may be higher than God’s are.
Paul in the Ephesian letter expressed the character and temperament that Christians should use with each other.
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;” … “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 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” (Eph. 4:1,2,30-32).
He also told the Galatians to “restore in a spirit of meekness; considering thyself…” (Gal.6:1).
Forgiveness is not just for us -- it is for everyone. God offers forgiveness to all who will obey Him. And just as God stands ready to forgive so must we who are Christians stand ready to forgive others.
Look at the words of our Lord, “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses.”
This should serve as a warning to all who would fail to forgive others.