TODAY’S SCRIPTURE Matthew 6:14-15
How important is it that we are able to forgive others? According to Matthew 6:14-15, our own forgiveness depends on our willingness to forgive others: “…But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
We all want desperately to be shown grace and forgiveness for our shortcomings, but when others sin against us, we find it difficult to practice forgiveness in return. We find this tendency clearly illustrated in a parable that Jesus tells. In Matthew 18:23-35 Jesus describes a man who owes a king an enormous debt. It is impossible for the man to pay this debt, so the king orders that the man, his family, and all that he owns be sold to pay toward the debt. The man begs the king to have patience with him. Amazingly, the king has pity on the man and even forgives him the enormous debt! Instead of learning from the gracious action of the king, this man finds a fellow servant who owes him a much smaller debt. He demands to be paid, and when the fellow servant begs for patience, the man has him thrown into prison.
From this parable we learn that a crucial key for practicing forgiveness is to have a good memory: to remember that I myself am a sinner and that I have been shown grace. The apostle Paul models this important principle in his life. Paul has been forgiven by the Lord for his past sins as a persecutor of Christians, but Paul does not forget the amazing grace and mercy that is shown to him. He remembers that he is a sinner; in fact, he considers himself to be the foremost of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). This memory inspires him to share the message of forgiveness with others.
Paul reminds us in Colossians 3:13, “As the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” The forgiveness that Christ has shown us will always be a reminder to respond graciously to others.
Today, I will…remember that I am a sinner and have been forgiven. I will show the forgiveness of Christ to others.