Jesus Feeding the 5,000

A daily devotion for May 25th

Breaking the Resentment Barrier

Then the master called the servant in. You wicked servant, he said, I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?

Matthew 18:32-33

The Lord is holding up a mirror in order that we might see ourselves. We are the servant who has been forgiven a vast and staggering amount of money, and God is the great king that has forgiven us. This ten thousand talents is an incredible amount. It is ten million dollars which, in those days, would be a king's ransom. When the settling of accounts came, this man was confronted with this vast debt, and he could not pay it. The king ordered that justice be carried out and that the man, his wife and children, and all that he had be sold, as was possible in those days. Even then it would be far short of the amount of this debt. In desperation the man falls on his knees and says to the king, Have patience, sir, and I will pay you everything. He could never do that, but the king's heart is moved by the man's impossible situation, and he forgives him, at staggering cost to himself.

Jesus places, in direct contrast to this, another account which he says occurred immediately, as this man went out from his experience of being so unbelievably forgiven. As he went out he met a man who owed him twenty dollars, and seizing him by the throat he said, Pay me what you owe. But when the second man says exactly the same words the first had said just a few moments before, Have patience with me and I'll pay you everything, instead of forgiving him this paltry amount, he throws him into prison till he shall pay the full amount.

That is what we do when we refuse to forgive each other even the most insulting and injurious offenses. No matter how hurt we are by what someone has done to us, in comparison to what God has forgiven us, it is like comparing twenty dollars to ten million dollars of debt. There is not one single Christian who does not realize that he did not stop sinning when he was first forgiven in Christ. Not a day goes by but that we do not stand in desperate need of the forgiving word of the great King. And yet, when someone offends us, how quickly we revert to the basis of justice and start demanding, Pay me what you owe. I demand an apology. Give me my rights.

We must forgive — anything less is hypocritical. We cannot demand justice from others because we do not stand on that ground ourselves. As the king said to this servant, Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you? That is the basis of Christian forgiveness. It is also what makes forgiveness possible. Because this vast and staggering debt against us has been wiped out by the grace of God, we have the capability of forgiving also.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for reminding me of the riches of grace. May I once again hear the word of the great King, All is forgiven. In the glory of that restored relationship, may I can turn to others and say, I'll forgive you.

Life Application

Do I understand the staggering debt God has forgiven me of? In what relationships am I nursing resentment over things trivial in comparison?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Breaking the Resentment Barrier

Listen to Ray