Don’t Be A Loser – Forgive

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This is for anyone who’s even been sat upon, spat upon, ratted on (a little touch of Paul Simon).

And, I must not forget those who identify with those “somebody done somebody wrong” songs (B.J. Thomas).

Yep, it’s a word for every person who’s ever been offended.

The word?

You aren’t the first, you probably won’t be the last, so are you going to allow the offender the power to control your life?

I wouldn’t if I were you.

“But you don’t know how I’ve been treated!”

No, I’m sure I don’t have a clue. But I know someone who does. He’s the same person who had this conversation with Peter. Jesus.

“Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven.”” (Matthew 18:21-22 NLT)

In Luke chapter 17, Jesus was quoted as telling Peter the seventy times seven amount was for a single day. No wonder the disciples responded with, “Lord, increase our faith”!

So, what should a person do when they’ve been wronged?

Forgive.

I didn’t say forget. I didn’t say trust or endorse their behavior.

Forgive.

Release the offender from the imaginary prison you’re wanting to hold them in. Release them even if they don’t ask, or they never repent. Release them from your desire for revenge or retaliation. People may need to make restitution, but that’s between them and God, or them and the law.

Forgive. Don’t get locked up in your own prison.

There was a guy, a real loser, who owed a king a huge sum of money; ten thousand talents (Matthew 18). Back then, each talent was worth approximately twenty years of wages. Twenty times ten thousand equals more than my calculator cares to compute.

Well, the loser begged the king to have mercy, wait a little longer before casting him into prison, and he promised (again) to pay it all back.

Right. Great words, noble gesture, but an impossible feat.

But the king had compassion on the loser and forgave him the whole debt. The loser became a winner, thanks to the compassion of the king.

Too bad the guy didn’t appreciate what the king did for him. For immediately following his miracle debt reduction, he went to a guy who owed him a measly three months worth of wages. He grabbed the man by the collar, shoved him against the wall, and demanded repayment.

“Please have mercy, sir, and I’ll repay you”, the debtor cried.

“No way!” And with that, the loser demonstrated just how he had racked up such a huge debt in the first place.

He was stupid!

Well, the merciful king heard what the loser did, and called for an immediate face to face “come to Jesus” meeting. And by the time the king was finished talking, two men were behind bars; the loser AND the guy the loser tossed into prison.

Only the guy who WASN’T forgiven would eventually be released. The loser wasn’t EVER getting out.

So you’ve been offended, misrepresented, misunderstood, and even lied to. You hurt, your wounds are fresh, and the one who treated you in such a way is still at large; justice seems so far removed.

Before you grab your calculator and punch in all the numbers, and before you call for someone’s head on a platter, think about how much debt you have outstanding.

Maybe you’ve offended someone; maybe not. But you’re still a loser. So am I.

The debt we racked up with God is far greater than we could EVER repay. God has every right to throw us in an eternal prison and throw away the key.

But he didn’t. Instead, his son went to prison on our behalf. So, rather than remain a loser, we became a winner at Christ’s expense.

Because God forgave.

And we should, must, do the same.

“And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” (Matthew 18:33-35 ESV)