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Archive for January, 2010

The Problem of Forgiveness

Why is it so hard to forgive? It is not a new phenomenon. In our January Bible study today we looked at the parable of the unmerciful servant found in Matthew 18:21-35. The story centers around the misfortunes of a servant who owed the King a sum of money that he could not repay in a hundred lifetimes. Even Dave Ramsey could not help this guy. Yet in a remarkable act of grace and mercy the King forgives the man’s debt. You would think a man that received that much forgiveness would also be forgiving but we find just the opposite. After he is forgiven he immediately goes to another man who owes him a small amount of money, practically nothing compared to the debt he owed the King. In anger, he refuses to show mercy to the man and has him thrown into prison. Once the King discovers the lack of mercy, he is outraged and reinstates the debt. The servant is carried away to prison until the debt is paid.

Why was it so hard for the forgiven servant to show forgiveness to others? Isn’t that the question for us today? As a christian we have experienced extravagant grace and forgiveness. Jesus cancelled our debt on the cross that we could never pay. Since we have experienced such an overwhelming amount of forgiveness you would think we would be quick to forgive others. Yet how many times do we act with the same attitude of the first servant who was unwilling to forgive another? So we are back to why? I am sure there are many reasons; we hurt too much, we want justice or we feel the person doesn’t deserve our forgiveness. We must be careful before we go down that path because then we must assess our worthiness of God’s forgiveness. It only takes a moment to remember that we were unworthy yet God still forgave us. The best example comes from some of the last words of Jesus on the cross. As he looked down on those who were involved in his crucifixion, he could have prayed to his father and asked God to rain down fire upon those who were unworthy and responsible for his physical pain yet instead he asked God to forgive them. What an amazing act of mercy on his part.

When we struggle with forgiveness it would be good for us to remember how much mercy and grace we have received from God–even when we didn’t deserve it!

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Band of Brothers

I was reminded last night how important it is to be a part of a men’s small group. For several years I was part of a men’s accountability/small group. We studied together, prayed together and held each other accountable in our spiritual walk. In our touchy feely world where no one wants to offend anyone, it is refreshing to know that believers can be completely honest with each other and challenge them to live according to God’s word. If you do not have a group of men that support and encourage you unconditionally, I strongly encourage you to seek out 7 or 8 men that you can meet with on a regular basis. Dig into God’s word and commit to helping each other fulfill God’s purpose in their lives. You will blessed!

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