Friday, 3 December 2021
Title: “To Forgive – An act of grace”
By: Ps Cheong Cheng Cheung
The parable of the unforgiving slave is familiar to all of us. Significant phrases such as:
”The kingdom of God is like . . .”
”ten thousand talents”
”moved with compassion”
”you wicked servant”
” Should you not also have had compassion, . . . just as I had pity on you”
tells us the Lord has no intention of allowing us to dismiss this story as an entertaining but irrelevant tale.
From the very start we need to embrace that if Christ’s Spirit is in us, we are to embody the kingdom of God in all our actions and attitudes. Christ is speaking to His disciples and His words remind us what He is teaching here is SOP, applicable to every kingdom citizen.
The supreme example and source of forgiveness is God’s forgiveness. Do we recognise that the unforgiving slave owed the king this huge, unrepayable debt? Here, the estimate in today’s terms is three billion dollars, an unimaginable sum for the likes of you and I. So we might distance ourselves from the parable, thinking, ”Doesn’t apply to me”. But wait. I was like that slave owing God a debt of sin I could never repay. God was moved with compassion. It cost God the Father His own Son to forgive my sin. I was hopelessly in bondage. Eternal separation from God beckoned. By the grace and mercy of God, I was fully, freely and finally forgiven through the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus.
Forgiveness is not optional because it is grounded in grace, in Calvary. Therefore, the example of the Lord Jesus is our benchmark. Just as He forgave us, so we are compelled to forgive those whom we believe have wronged, hurt, misused, misjudged or mistreated us.
We see this expectation played out in the second half of the parable. The focus is on the ungrateful behaviour of the unforgiving slave. The king called him “wicked.” In verse 33, the lynchpin question is posed by the king: ”Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant?”. Literally it means ”Wasn’t it necessary for you to show compassion to your fellow servant just as I had on you?” The bottom line is the unforgiving slave has not fully grasped the enormity of what the king has done for him.
Through my working life, especially the earlier years, there have been times when I have been misjudged, situations when I have been badly misunderstood and called names. The people involved are in the past. I have forgiven them in my heart. God is gracious, and time heals. And I know there have also been others whom I have wrongly judged, and unfairly treated, and given the opportunity I would ask for forgiveness from them.
We may have heard of the illustration of unforgiveness being likened to a millstone around one’s neck, enslaving the person to a lifetime of bitter thoughts and memories. You may say the other person did untold harm emotionally to you. But bear in mind what your sin did to the Son of God and what it cost him to declare you are forgiven. By accepting His forgiveness, you have the freedom and strength not to be bound by the past and let go of that wrong done to you. Release that other person from your desire to retaliate. This is an important first step. Then the weight of the millstone will slowly cease to be a drag on your life. Time will heal the bitterness till one day, a whole day will pass without those memories arising in your thoughts.
My Prayer today
Gracious Heavenly Father, forgive me once again, the times when I have said or done things to people I should not have. I have disappointed you and probably hurt them.
Help me to appreciate, over and over again, what the Lord Jesus did, and that I should freely forgive as you have forgiven me.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Corrie ten Boom’s testimony regarding forgiveness:
我们看到这个比喻的后半部分实现了这个期望。重点是不宽恕人的恶仆的忘恩负义行为。王称他为 “恶奴才”。在第33节，王提出了一个关键的问题：”你不应当怜恤你的同伴？” 字面意思是， “难道你不需要像我对你一样怜悯你的同伴吗？” 底线是这个不宽容的仆人还没有完全理解国王为他所做的事情的巨大意义。