This week marked the fourth week of our Bridewell Group. We’ve been talking about the fruit of the Spirit and in particular the fruit of Love: not my favorite topic (simply because of my flesh) but my partner in ministry picked it. This week’s topic focused on how love encompasses forgiveness.
Our scripture reference came from the book of Matthew. It’s the story of the man who owed a debt of a hundred thousand dollars to the King. He couldn’t pay the debt and so the King ordered his wife, children, and all his belongings to be sold and auctioned off to pay what the man owed. The man begged for mercy, the King forgave, the man did not show mercy, and the King reinstated his punishment.
A few things seemed to jump out at me this time (funny how that happens in scripture).
First: We often just rush by the fact that this man was forgiven for such a huge debt. His family and all his belongings were going to suffer because of HIS debt. This King, in his mercifulness, forgave the man’s debt. In doing so everything and everyone connected to this man was spared. What a miracle! I think all to often we forget how great a miracle divine forgiveness truly is.
I wonder if this man chose to beg for forgiveness because he knew his King to be a merciful King? We often expect forgiveness from God- after all, He IS God. Too often we don’t necessarily think that forgiveness has to be something WE give. It is so easy to withhold forgiveness when we have been wronged but this is not part of love.
Second: I became intriged at the action that caused this man’s debt to be reinstated. It’s an amazing thing that the scripture say’s nothing about the man’s future debt and it never mentions his continued stewardship, or lack thereof. The one single action that caused his debt to be reapplied was his inability to forgive someone else- wow.
It was the man’s inability to forgive that damned him, his family, and his belongings. Now there’s a biblical doctrine that doesn’t get preached very often.