Forgiving so you can be forgiven.

Matthew 18:34-35 “And his lord was wroth [angry], and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses [sins].”

Jesus told the parable of the servant who owed his debtor a large sum of money and asked for leniency in repaying the loan. After the debtor had mercy upon him, he then went out and demanded full payment from someone who owed him money but not nearly as large as his debt that was forgiven. Jesus told this parable in response to Peter’s question of how many times a person must or should forgive a person in one day. Jesus’ initial reply was 490 times in one day if necessary. The matter is that no matter how much a person sins against you, you must forgive them. Jesus taught elsewhere that if we don’t forgive others, God won’t forgive us.

When I read that passage today on my commute into work, the Spirit of God laid a paddle to my spiritual backside and pointed out that there was one particular person in my life whom I needed to forgive. I thought about this for the whole ride into work on the bus and subway. Who had I not forgiven? The person’s name eluded me at first, but then after getting to work, the person’s name became quite evident.

I had had a discussion with this person and ended up taking offense at this person over mere words. I had felt slighted and judged; however, I not long thereafter realized that I had been in the wrong also. I asked God to forgive me for my thoughts and words; likewise I forgave this person for offending me and for past offenses as well. Now, I still need to go to this person over the matter. I need to so not to demean this person or point fingers, but I must do so to begin the reconciliation process. If I cannot forgive this person, even though I was wrong too, God won’t forgive me. I will be turned over to the tormentors until the debt is repaid. Not a pretty thought; he has ears to hear.

As I have asked God to forgive me and also forgiven this person, I, too, need to go to this individual and ask for forgiveness. There must be restoration and reconciliation in every part of the body of Messiah. I am speaking of my spouse. Please forgive me, but I will ask of you the same in person.

Father, as much as I want to forgive and do, I need to be forgiven. My spouse is a gift from You. I am steward of my spouse in this life. My actions impact my spouse even when I am not around. Although things are not where they should be in our relationship, I ask You to heal us and bind us together with cords of love from You that cannot be broken. I confess my sins and by faith receive Your forgiveness. I release my spouse from any and all wrongs that have and may have been done toward me. I hold no grudge, bitterness, or resentment. Create a right heart within me, and accept my offering of a broken, contrite spirit. I humble myself before You that I may learn to do justice and love mercy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.