Reflection for Today – Ongoing Forgiveness and Freedom
Matthew 18: 27 Then the king was filled with pity for him and released him and forgave his debt.
When someone withholds something: the courtesy to acknowledge my email, WhatsApp message, telephone call—or an apology, compliment or answer to my question, I feel anxious. Disappointment marshals an angry reaction to the edge of my lips and my thoughts obsess over feeling owed a response. Can you identify? Yet, Jesus describes an all-powerful King who rises above petty self-focused emotions and with the respect worthy of royalty, he cares for a commoner—the monarch extends compassion, freedom, and forgiveness to an undeserving debtor servant. With reason to punish—he forgave instead.
Why should we offer compassion instead of keeping a record of wrongs. Because our heavenly Father calls us to forgive, as He has forgiven us: fully and forever. If we don’t forgive we actually chose to be controlled by the actions of someone we can’t control. To not forgive ignores a melanoma of mind, body, and emotions—cancerous resentment eats away our joy and starves our peace. Wisdom in life leans into forgiveness to bring healing to our relational health.
Compassion looks a person in the eyes and wonders what they have experienced. Abused? Abandoned? Lost? Hurt? Rejected? Forgotten? Perhaps they suffered great loss from the death of a child, parent or sibling. Maybe they lashed out in anger because they were the brunt of another’s bitterness. Fear may have captured their consciences when they sadly embraced lies about themselves and others. Compassion does not justify bad behaviour but looks for reasons why.
With God’s help, I need to unlock the door leading to that dark place of my soul, I go down the steps, unshackle my offender, look them compassionately in eyes, lead them up the stairs into the light of the main floor of my life. With a tone of genuineness and gentleness, I clearly say, “ I forgive you for………
Who is locked up in the cellar of your soul that you can release, confront and forgive? Wisdom in life does not allow hurt from the past to drive demanding, detrimental behaviour in the present. Forgiveness sets us and our offenders free to freely love and serve others in Jesus’ name.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).
Heavenly Father, help me see people with the compassion of Christ and forgive them freely in Jesus’ name, amen.
(by Boyd Baily – edited NW)