Chapter One, Part Two
The Art of Forgiveness
John 16:33 NKJV
John 15:28 ESV
Matthew 18:21-35 NKJV
We weren’t promised life would be easy. As a matter of fact, Jesus promised in John 16:33 that it would be very difficult. He said in John 16:33, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Notice that while Jesus promised it would be difficult, He also told his followers that they did not need to be sad because He was the conqueror and He WOULD overcome.
That’s quite a promise!
But…it’s not always instant. Jesus is ultimately in charge, and in the end all will answer to Jesus, in the interim God sent the Spirit to help us and guide us.
Just prior to Jesus telling his followers there would be tribulation, in John 15:28, He said, “I will send you the Helper from the Father. The Helper is the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father. When he comes, he will tell about me. And you will tell people about me too, because you have been with me from the beginning.”
Jesus promised help was on the way. That help came after Jesus ascended to heaven. In Acts 2, the Spirit that was promised came rushing in like a mighty wind. We have the Holy Spirit who will help us when we ask.
We need to notice what Jesus did not say, because sometimes that’s more important to notice. Jesus did not say there were boundaries to what the Spirit would or could do for us.
Jesus did not say we can only access the Spirit when the problem was life-threatening.
Jesus did not say the Spirit would or could only help with certain problems or subjects we need help with. He said the mighty wind would be the Spirit of Truth. While that is a vital component for any subject, it’s absolutely important when we are dealing with forgiveness.
Why is that? Usually issues that deal with forgiveness exist in murky waters. It’s he said, she said kind of stuff.
So in this case, we are promised the Spirit will help us sort out the truth when it comes to he said she said!
That means when we find ourselves in murky waters, we are promised the Spirit of Truth will help us. All we need to do is ask for help. If we feel hurt because we’ve been wronged, the Spirit will help guide us to the truth.
We are also told that we need to forgive and forgive and forgive.
In Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus told His followers a Parable of an Unforgiving Servant.
“Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
This parable was US. Jesus is the King who forgives us completely. Because Jesus continuously forgives completely no matter how grave the sin, we are to forgive others who have wronged us.
The question is, how many times? The number Jesus used is intended to represent an unlimited amount. Jesus was saying because He forgives us an unlimited amount of times, we are called to reciprocate when forgiving others.
Jesus was reminding his followers that His love and compassion are limitless, and so should our love and compassion be limitless.
So, what do we do when there are people who take advantage of the gift we give them? We forgive them which turns them over to God. We also ask that the Spirit of Truth would stand in the gap for us and protect us.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Clarity
When we’re not quite sure how to handle n issue of forgiveness, we ask God to give us clarity. That is a specific prayer God will answer!
In God, Deborah