Everyone cringes at the idea of ever being sent to prison. Though not behind bars sadly many do find themselves captive to an unpayable sin debt. In Bible times there were serious consequences for those who could not repay what they owed. The debtor could be thrown into prison, dependent on his family or friends to supply the money to purchase his freedom. Using this illustration Jesus teaches a parable about a king who generously forgave a man a ten million dollar debt. However, when the same man was asked to forgive only a ten dollar balance he prosecuted without pity. “…but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.” Matthew 18:30 KJV
Friends, we have incurred a terrible sin debt that can never possibly be paid. There is enough sin DNA within each of us to send us directly to hell. Do we really see our own distressing capacity to do wrong? We desperately need forgiveness. God’s forgiveness and mercy has been extended to us beyond all measure. To know what it is to be forgiven by God is to experience a gratitude that is truly boundless. By wonderful mercy and compassion the Lord Jesus paid our immense sin debt at the cross, canceling our sin record for all time.
Because God has forgiven everything from character faults to our crushing sins we must not withhold forgiveness from others. “He that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.” George Herbert And so when the King saw the man refuse to cancel the lesser debt he“…delivered him to the tormenters, till he should pay all that was due unto him.” Matthew 18:34 KJV
When we do not forgive others we are cast into a personal prison where hurt, bitterness, and unbelief hold us captive. “A wise man will make haste to forgive, because he knows the true value of time, and will not suffer it to pass away in unnecessary pain.” Samuel Johnson The words of this song remind us just what we have been given through the amazing gift of forgiveness: “Jesus paid it all. All to him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow.” To continually forgive others is meant to be as much a way of life as breathing.
Yesterday I forgave all that once went so wrong. Today I will ask forgiveness for my weaknesses and lack of faith. Tomorrow forgiveness will pave my pathway with renewed hope and the strength of my abiding Savior. How wonderful to know that the tremendous power of forgiveness sets us free to thrive under the God of mercy and love.
Click here to read a beautiful quote about brokenness by Brennan Manning.