Peter ask Jesus: “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? as many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy times seven.”
Those words from Matthew 18 were part of the devotion I read this morning which was of course followed by the parable of the unforgiving servant. You may recall the story. A servant owed an enormous amount of money, more than he could ever hope to repay. At his pleading the king showed mercy and forgave him the entire debt. This same servant then encounters someone who owes him a small amount but is in no position to pay. He refuses to forgive the debt or give additional time. He has the man thrown in jail.
I couldn’t help but think how easy it is to expect forgiveness, mercy and grace for ourselves but to be stingy about sharing it with others. I hope and pray that I am willing to be a forgiving person when the need arises because I know that often I need forgiveness from others, especially from the Lord. I share with you the following thoughts from C.S. Lewis from The Weight of Glory and Other Messages.
“It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life — to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son — how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.” We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse is to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says. ”
May we all forgive as we have been forgiven,
The Rev. Ellen Meissgeier
Pastor, Resurrection Lutheran Church