Scripture Reading for Tuesday, March 25
Reading: Matthew 18:21-35
The Burden of Forgiveness
Forgiveness can be one of the hardest tasks we do as humans. When we are wronged it can feel good to hold onto the hurt and to withhold forgiveness because it gives us an edge over the other person. To be wronged, is to own a debt, and to have debts owed to us can often become a source of pride. We can rack up the wrongs of others into a collection so large that it begins to consume us until all we are is a walking museum of the hurts of our lives. Is that a healthy thing?
The short answer is no, it isn't.
In his book Great Expectations the author Charles Dickens writes of Ms. Havisham, a spurned bride. Her mansion sits unchanged from that fateful day; the tables sit decorated with settings in place for a feast, the cake is in place, and the ball-room cleared for dancing; however dust, rot, and decay permeate nearly every setting. Ms. Havisham wears a wedding dress worn to tatters. She is unable to forgive her lost love and feeds her wounded identity through her ward Estella, a beautiful young woman groomed to break men's hearts.
We all know one or two Ms. Havishams. People embittered by a life of hurt, consumed in their own self-pity. Certainly there is a better way for us than that. Jesus tells us that the way forward is forgiveness. To move past our hurts, not for the sake of others but for our own sakes. God expects that his gift of forgiveness would extend past us and to those that have wronged us as well. The wicked servants undoing in our passage was his unwillingness to extend the forgiveness of the king to his fellow servant.
Questions for Reflection or Journaling
- How have you been hurt?
- Have you forgiven those who have hurt you? Why or Why Not?
- What does it mean that the forgiveness we extend starts in God, and not in us?
Father in heaven. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those that sin against us.