"The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,' he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.' The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go."
"When we give up control, that's when we gain control." In Matthew 18, Jesus told the powerful and convicting story about a wealthy king who had forgiven one of his servants of a $10M debt. Imagine being forgiven of a $10M debt! Sadly, though, the servant did not extend the same forgiveness he had just experienced. He failed to understand the true nature of forgiveness. Instead, he tracked down a guy who owed him just $11 and, when the man couldn't pay, the unmerciful servant had the guy thrown in prison. When this news got back to the king, he went full tilt and threw the unforgiving servant in jail. Isn't it ironic? The king lovingly spared his servant from prison, yet the servant imprisoned himself due to his unwillingness to extend the same forgiveness he'd been given. If you think about it, that is a picture of our own lives when we fail to extend forgiveness to those around us. Those of us who are Christ-followers have had our sin debt canceled. We are freed because of Jesus' preemptive work of forgiveness on the cross. However, if we harbor past pain and anger, we may have experienced forgiveness in our own lives, but we are not living it out for others! When we do that, we fail to realize a powerful truth. Forgiveness is more for the offended than the offender! When we unleash unforgiveness, we gain control and release ourselves from further collateral damage. We give ourselves the ultimate gift by extending for-GIVE-ness. Remember, we are never more like God than when we give. So today, walk in the freedom of God's mercy and grace as you extend the same to others!
During prayer, clench your fists to represent what you are holding onto: bitterness, resentment, or anger. Then as a physical sign to yourself and God, unclench your fist and say,
"God, I forgive ___. In light of Your mercy and grace I cancel their debt. And now, as I open my hands to You, I release them from having any further control over my life."
Dear Lord, thank You for sending Jesus to die on the cross and to rise again to cover the cost of my sin. I praise You for Your constant love, mercy, and grace. Help me to let go of my past as I extend forgiveness and discover a life filled with hope and joy. In Jesus' name, Amen.