Friday, 3 December 2021

Title: “To Forgive – An act of grace”
By: Ps Cheong Cheng Cheung

Matthew 18:23-35

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:
https://lifebeautifulmagazine.com/profiles/corrie-ten-boom-the-power-of-forgiveness

每日灵粮
星期五,2021年12月3日
标题:”宽恕— 以恩典待人”
作者:张祯祥传道
翻译:巫惠如姐妹

不饶人的恶仆的比喻对我们大家来说都很熟悉。经文里一些重要的短语告诉我们,主耶稣无意让我们把这个故事当作一个有趣但无关紧要的故事:

“天国好像……”
“一千万银子”
“动了慈心”
“你这恶奴才”
” 你不应当怜恤你的同伴,像我怜恤你吗?”

从一开始我们就需要接受,如果基督的灵在我们里面,我们就要在我们所有的行为和态度中体现出天国。基督是在对他的门徒说话,他的话提醒我们,他在这里所教导的都是标准答案,适用于每一位天国的子民。

宽恕的最高榜样和源泉是上帝的宽恕。我们是否意识到,这个不饶人的仆人欠了国王巨大、无法偿还的债务?在这里,用今天的术语估计是30亿美元,对于你我这样的人来说是一个难以想象的数字。所以我们可能把这个比喻搁在一边,心想,”事不关己”。但是等一等。我就像那个仆人一样,欠了上帝一笔我永远无法偿还的罪债。上帝却动了慈心。父神舍了祂自己的儿子来原谅我的罪。我无可奈何地被罪捆绑着。眼看着自己将与上帝永远地分离。因着上帝的恩典和怜悯,我通过主耶稣的牺牲之死得到了完全、免费和最终的宽恕。

宽恕不是可有可无的,因为它是建立在恩典和髑髅地的基础上。因此,主耶稣的榜样是我们的标杆。正如他宽恕我们一样,我们也不得不宽恕那些我们认为错了、伤害了、滥用了、误判了或虐待了我们的人。

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。

在我的工作生涯中,特别是早些年,有几次我被错怪,被严重误解,被骂。所涉及的人已经成为过去。我也已经在心里原谅了他们。上帝是仁慈的,时间可以治愈。我知道也有其他人被我错误地判断,不公平地对待,如果有机会,我会请求他们原谅。

我们可能听说过这样的例子:不宽恕被比喻为一个人脖子上的磨石,使这个人一生都被痛苦的思想和记忆所奴役。你可能会说对方在感情上对你造成了无尽的伤害。但请记住你的罪对上帝的儿子做了什么,以及他为宣布你被宽恕付出了什么代价。接受他的宽恕,你就有了自由和力量,不受过去的束缚,放下对你所犯的错误。将对方从你报复的欲望中释放出来。这是重要的第一步。然后,磨石的重量将慢慢不再是你生活的拖累。时间会治愈痛苦,直到有一天,一整天都会过去,你的思想中不会出现这些记忆。

我今天的祷告:

仁慈的天父,再次原谅我,原谅我曾经对人说过或做过不应该做的事。我让你失望了,也可能伤害了他们。请帮助我一次又一次地珍惜主耶稣所做的,我应该不计较地宽恕,就像你宽恕了我。奉耶稣的名,阿门。

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科里博姆的宽恕见证:
https://lifebeautifulmagazine.com/profiles/corrie-ten-boom-the-power-of-forgiveness