Matthew 18 is the chapter we studied in BSF this week. The first part speaks of humility. A humble heart makes a person great in the Kingdom of God. The second section is about seeking the lost. The third section is on church discipline and the fourth speaks about forgiveness. Jesus relates the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. Essentially a slave is forgiven by his master for an unreal amount of money--10,000 talents. The slave in return refuses to forgive another slave his debt of some $20.00. There are some lessons we learn here.
First, God is angry at the lack of forgiveness in our lives. We who have been forgiven much should forgive much. Second, forgiveness is an act of the will and not an emotional decision. We shouldn't wait until we FEEL like forgiving an offender. We do it in obedience to the Lord who has forgiven us so much!
Third, forgiveness means that we don't bring the issue up to the offender or any one else. It also means we don't dwell on it ourselves. It releases the offender to the Lord and frees us in the process. Bitterness builds a prison that encloses its own architect. Fourth, true forgiveness requires much humility. It releases not only the offender but the offended. Such an act screams to the world's "get even" or "some one is going to pay" mentality that Jesus Christ lives. He works through the hearts of His own. Is there someone for whom you harbor bitterness? Don't waste any more time. Offer a full pardon now with a concise yet sincere "I will forgive you" and thus be pleasing to the Lord.