Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Our Problem With Forgiveness And Trust

… The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.” – Matthew 18:26-30

Don’t you find people curious, maybe even perplexing? I have read the parable of the Unforgiving Servant many times but have seen it played out by people I know many more times.  We want forgiveness for what we do, but we don’t want to extend that same forgiveness to others.  I have written this many times before, but it bears repeating – the Bible is a spiritual book – the Word of God – what He tells us to do must have the power of the Spirit at its root – not the power of our will or won’t.

Have you ever heard someone say “I just can’t find it in me to forgive them!” Maybe you’ve said it yourself.  Don’t you think that God knows all about our human frailties and tendencies?

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. ” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Scripture is “God-breathed” or inspired through the Spirit of God. We were given that parable so we would know that we are to forgive in the same way that we have been forgiven by God by the power of God in us.  So let’s talk about trust. We are to forgive but that does not mean that we necessarily trust. The king who forgave would most likely not give the man more money.  Trust is an easy thing to lose and a hard thing to get back. Just because you forgive someone does not mean that you make yourself vulnerable to them. In my thinking, people must demonstrate repentance before they should be trusted.  God does not ask us to enable bad behavior. We can forgive without the offender being repentant. But we should not trust until they prove they are repentant. That failing is at the root of abusive relationships. The abused forgives and the abuser continues to abuse. 

Are you struggling with forgiveness – maybe you are refusing to trust even though the person has repented. If you look closely – you will find a lack of forgiveness at the root and a wanting for the person to be punished as the goal.  Just like the unforgiving servant.  Lord help us all!

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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