“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?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” Matthew 18:32-35 (NIV)
I want you to do something for me. Anything Lord, you just say the word. What is it? I want you to think about all the people that have hurt you in some way throughout your life. That might take some time. I’m sure that it will. It’s going to be a fairly long list. The longer, the better. I don’t want you to forget anyone or anything that has been done to you. This seems like kind of a weird request coming from you. Yes, I’m sure that it does. Take however long you need to today to work on your list and come back to me. Will you do that? Yes Lord, I will.
I’m back. That took quite a while. Yes it did. Is your list as exhaustive as it can possibly be? I think so. Do you have all your enemies written down? Yes, it was easy to remember them. How about everyone that has cheated, lied or stolen from you? They’re all on here. How about people who broke their promises or betrayed you? Oh, a couple more names just came to mind. Write them down. Got it. Do you have everyone that hurt, rejected, judged or manipulated you? You weren’t kidding about not leaving any names off the list. No, I wasn’t. Ok, I’ve added a few more names. How about anyone who disappointed you, didn’t follow through or live up to your expectations? Slow down a little bit. I’m writing. Has anyone ever used, rejected or devalued you? Yes! Are they on the list? Not yet. I’ll wait. Are you done now? Yes, I think so. That’s good.
What would you like to do with the people on that list? Could you zap them for me? No, I cannot. This is a serious moment for you, let’s not joke around. Alright, I’m just a little nervous about how long this list is. Why is that? I’m pretty sure that I shouldn’t have this kind of a list. Why not? It’s a really heavy burden to carry. How so? It has worn me out carrying anger and unforgiveness around for so long. Yes, it has. That’s why I had you make a list. I wanted you to see that you are being weighed down by unforgiveness. I’m getting a pretty clear picture right now, that’s for sure.
What do you want to do with all these people on your list? I want to do for them what you’ve done for me. What’s that? I want to love and forgive them. There are some pretty nasty people on your list. Are you sure you want to forgive them? I was once a pretty nasty person. Yes, you were. You forgave me. Yes, I did. So, yes I want to forgive everyone on my list. I want to do for them what you’ve done for me. So, I’m forgiving them all right now. That’s very good. How do you feel? Like a weight has been lifted. As a matter of fact, it has.
Lord, you have forgiven me of an enormous debt of sin, at great cost to you, that I could never hope to repay. I am so thankful for your forgiveness. Help me to have a forgiving heart towards others like you have had toward me. Amen
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