FOR­GIVE­NESS as God Sees It

Activated - - NEWS - Marie Alvero is a for­mer mis­sion­ary to Africa and Mex­ico. She cur­rently lives a happy, busy life with her hus­band and chil­dren in Cen­tral Texas, USA. By Marie Alvero

Je­sus told a story about for­give­ness that pokes at my heart and con­science ev­ery time I hear it. It tells of a good king whose

1 ac­coun­tant brought to his at­ten­tion that one of his ser­vants owed him an enor­mous amount of money, some­thing to the tune of bil­lions of dol­lars if mea­sured in to­day’s money. An amount so huge that there was no pos­si­ble way this ser­vant could ever re­pay the debt.

The king sum­moned the ser­vant and de­manded pay­ment. When the ser­vant told the king he could not re­pay the debt, the king com­manded that the ser­vant’s fam­ily be sold into slav­ery till the debt could be rec­on­ciled. The ser­vant pleaded for mercy, and the king’s heart was moved and he for­gave the debt. No pay­ment plan, no penal­ties, but a straight-up wip­ing clean of the record. The ser­vant was free, a debt­less man. I imag­ine he felt the way I’ll feel when I make my last mort­gage pay­ment, only so much bet­ter!

But this ser­vant’s ju­bi­la­tion was short-lived. As he left the king’s court he hap­pened to run into an ac­quain­tance who owed him some money, about a month’s wages. Some­how for­get­ting the great mercy he had just re­ceived, the ser­vant felt no com­pas­sion and fore­closed on the debt this ac­quain­tance owed, send­ing him to debtors’ jail.

One of the king’s friends wit­nessed th­ese events and re­ported ev­ery­thing to the king. Again, the ser­vant was brought be­fore the king.

“How could you not have shown for­give­ness when you were shown so much mercy your­self?” The king was an­gry. “You will be cast into prison un­til ev­ery penny of your debt has been paid!” I al­ways imag­ine that the king then re­leased the man who owed the smaller amount of money and for­gave his debt, be­cause that seems to be the heart of the king.

Each time I hear this story, I re­gret­tably rec­og­nize my­self in the ser­vant’s ac­tions. Too of­ten I am like the ser­vant who would not for­give. Through Je­sus’ death on the cross, He atoned for and for­gave my sins. It sim­ply makes no sense not to for­give those who have wronged me as I have been for­given of so much more. “When some­one has been given much, much will be required in re­turn.”

2

God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God say­ing to the world, “I love you.”— Billy Gra­ham (b. 1918)

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