Lesson 8 -- first quarter 2010
January 24, 2010
© Copyright 2010
Isn't it unfair for me to have to forgive another's injustice against me?
By what criteria do I forgive others?
Is there anyone whom I have not forgiven from the heart?
Why would I want to not forgive someone, especially a friend?
If I quit forgiving someone, what will I do instead?
How is compassion an improvement over patience?
How do I become compassionate as that king was?
Of what benefit is it to me to forgive another?
But I keep remembering the offenses against me! Now what?
Recently I was treated as the servant treated his fellow servant. What should I do?
How do I confront (Matthew 18:15-17) and yet forgive (Matthew 18:22,35)?!
Forgiveness is not denial -- it acknowledges the wounds and wrong responses...and chooses to forgive anyway. Then it turns to God for healing of the wounds and cleansing from the wrong responses.
Put another way, human forgiveness has little to do with forgetfulness. We just don't have the capacity to extinguish a memory at will. Thus "forgive and forget" sets the standard way above the attainable. Forgiveness does its work despite the memories. In fact, we could say that forgiveness does its work because of the memories. However, forgiveness does not indulge the memories and their feelings. Rather, forgiveness affirms its action and then refuses to review the offense and the accompanying feelings.
Now consider another angle. Do you want to review a record of wrongs, failures, and offenses? Look no further than your own. God leaves absolutely no room for keeping a record of how others treat you. However, we all need to recognize what Paul might have called "our own chiefest of sinners ailment." When we consider our own record (hopefully confessed and forgiven) before God, we will be able to forgivingly deal with how others treat us.
"I want you to forgive me," sounds noble enough, but can be stated in a rather demanding sort of way. Other people skip the polish: "The Bible says to forgive, so you have to forgive me!" Is this a proper understanding and application of Scripture?
Both of the debtors in today's parable had absolutely no legal or moral foundation on which to construct a case for forgiveness. So they didn't even try. Instead, both of them asked only for time to pay their debts. They both recognized that their forgiveness depended entirely on the discretion of their creditors . . . and apparently didn't even dream of asking for it.
So can I try to obligate someone to forgive me? I hardly see on what basis! My duty is to recognize my failure to my fellow man and to do what I can to make amends. In humility I can then ask for forgiveness. Their obligation to forgive is before God, not before me. And I need not remind them of that!
This concludes my comments based on the alternate lesson developed by Christian Light Publications. To read my comments on the passage for the International Bible Study, click here: Inviting the Weary.
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