I’m sitting here laughing with God right now. Because his timing is so perfect…
I wrote the outlines for this 10-week ProGrace Experience over a month ago. And I thought for this week, we would apply grace to someone else, after focusing on receiving grace for ourselves last week. I jotted down these words in my notebook, “think of someone who has wronged you, or you think their sin is just the worst.”
I had no idea that when I finally sat down to write this, I would have someone that I need to forgive. Oh man. I am going to have to do this exercise as I write it. Because I have felt insulted and wronged by someone this past week. I have been agitated and asking God to fight the battle for me. I have been asking for wisdom how to respond to this person. But the thought never occurred to me that also…I need to forgive them.
So, here we go. We are reading and meditating on Matthew 18:21-35. My Bible calls it The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. Take some time to read this parable, asking the Spirit to highlight anything specific he wants to say to you.
What stands out to you?
Now think of someone who has wronged you, or someone whose sin you view as really serious. Ask the Spirit to speak into your view of this person, and their sin. What does he highlight?
Here is what is hitting me today, as I am in the midst of needing to forgive someone.
I am thinking about the different size of debts. The king forgave a debt of 10,000 talents, while the servant refused to forgive a debt of 100 denarii.
The usual wage for a day laborer at the time this was written was 1 denarius. So we can see why a debt of 100 denarii would feel significant to this servant. At the same time, 1 talent was equal to about 6,000 denarii. Which means that this same servant had just been forgiven a debt of 60,000,000 denarii!
I don’t know about you, but my perspective on the offense I’ve experienced has just shifted. Yes, I was hurt this week. It’s significant to me and God sees it. AND he is asking me to remember that he has forgiven me—and continues to forgive me every day—of 600,000 times a bigger debt.
Ouch. When I am wronged, I like to think that I’m so much better than the person who offended me. But God doesn’t see it that way. Again in this parable, like the story in John 8, Jesus levels the playing field and reminds us of our own need for him.
How does this week’s exercise relate to unplanned pregnancy and abortion? Satan has had a stronghold on the church’s view of these issues by tempting us to believe that these issues are worse than our own. If we live a lifestyle of focusing on and remembering how much God has forgiven us—and continues to forgive us every day—we can’t help but shift from judgment to compassion in the way we talk about and interact with these issues.