When Humility Is Lost To Unforgiveness (PART 3)
Posted on February 16, 2021 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters
“Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.”
Matthew 18:33-34 (NLT)
“Shouldn’t you have had compassion on your brother, in the same way I had pity on you?” is a question we may not wanna hear especially if this like the 489th time we have done this forgiveness thing. I mean “C’mon Lord, ain’t we close to the end of someone’s tolerance here?” Somehow, I feel all we’ll hear from the Throne Room is NO!! (I’d say it may be worth a shot but that ain’t Kingdom thinking is it? Anyway…) As I come to the end of this little series on how we lose our humility because of being unforgiving I wanna talk about jail. Ever been in one? I have, ain’t nothing to write home about either.
In the beginning of the parable of the unforgiving servant, jail is the place the king uses to collect his debt. I could’ve thought of a better way of paying him back but I ain’t the king, so it’s off to prison you go when the debt ain’t paid. But for our unforgiving friend, his pleas for mercy are met with compassion by a king who came to the conclusion even prison doesn’t put the money back in the treasury.
In kingdom terms, our heavenly King already knew we weren’t ever gonna be able to pay back the sin debt we owe him. So, He provided us forgiveness through the completed work of Christ. Without that we’re pretty much sentenced to Hell for an eternity (the afterlife sentence) let alone having any kind of relationship with Him. In both cases here, it is good to know we don’t go to jail or hell for being in debt of any kind. However…
There is another way that a brother (or sister) can be cast into the depths of an ugly prison regardless of the laws of the land or standards in the Bible. We can easily incarcerate someone within the confines of our own heart and unfortunately when we do this, we end up keeping two prisoners caged up…and only one of us has the key to get out. But we’re so busy making sure the other remains locked up, we’ll refuse to do what is necessary to set us both free. Ce n’est pas bon (that’s not good).
Basically, what we’ve done is allowed offense to trump humility. It was once said to me that dead men don’t get offended if we’re applying what we read in Romans 12:1,
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1) The problem is when it gets uncomfortable, we tend to squirm off the altar and put on that old man like an old trusted coat. After that, who knows how something will end up. I guess our unforgiving friend may have felt that an old-fashioned punishment would get what he thought was his due. Ultimately that didn’t work out so well.
So, the best way to wrap this all up is to remember two things. One! If you wanna avoid offense, remember the humility you gained in Christ and your actual place whenever you’re inclined to point out a fault in another person. I’ll also add that jail is NOT an answer. You win no one over by putting someone in a jail cell or in the cage of your heart.
Two! When you finally realize that you may have offended someone, go make forgiveness the number one priority. Reconciliation was the mission that Jesus Christ was on so it is to you to do likewise. Don’t pressure things if its iffy but don’t give it up either. And for goodness sakes remember that, in both cases here, the same advice holds for the giver as well as the receiver. Criticism can be hard to take, but those wacky Pharisees did it to Jesus every single time they saw Him and if He could receive their rebukes, being the Son of God, who are we to not?
I read somewhere that whenever we’re wronged, especially by a brother (or sister) we should strive to avoid becoming so inflexible that we slam the doors of animosity against them. The wrong mindset can lead to a sinful attitude that is in opposition to God, keeping us locked up in our hardened hearts and preventing our entrance into His kingdom. This is the consequence to decide to withhold forgiveness and lead Jesus, to tell those with ears to hear, “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.” I think He means it. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Think About This: “Let us never forget our need to throw open the doors of our heart’s prison to release all, including ourselves, who have been confined within the walls of animosity for too long.” – Austin Del Castillo
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born [a]again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” –John 3:3