There is the story of a man who owed money to another. He pleaded and begged the man not to have him imprisoned, or do him any harm. Being compassionate, the man forgave him his debt and set him free. That man who was just pardoned came across another who owed him a fraction of what he had owed and was forgiven for. But he treated his fellow man roughly and had the man thrown into prison.
This is one of my favourite stories. One I apply to many situations in life.
Often we read The Bible and we encounter stories from long ago. Some comfort ouselves in the fact that The Bible was not written with Barbados in mind, but for a specific group of people.
However, while The Bible is a collection of different persons’ encounter with or experience of God, we need to be mindful that all scripture was inspired by God.
With that in mind, we need therefore to look at application –– how it can be applied to my life.
Sometimes we need to put ourselves in the story, and we would be surprised at the role we take.
Very few people would just write off a large debt. Most persons operate with the “get” mentality, especially when it is owed to us. It is easy to point the finger and say how foolish and wicked was the forgiven man.
But who is that man? Who is he today?
Isn’t that person your father, mother, sister, brother, wife, husband, sister-in-law, boss, friend. Isn’t that person you?
There is always something deeper in these stories –– and it is usually God.
If we apply this story to our life, God is the one who was and is owed the large sum. But in his infinite wisdom and boundless love he forgives our debt. He wipes our slate clean. The thing is He doesn’t do it once or twice. As often as we come He forgives.
Even when we don’t come, He doesn’t send a bailiff to hound us and recover what is His. It seems as if He is waiting for us to come, so He can forgive us and send us on our way.
But having experienced His forgiveness, we appear not to learn anything. Forgiveness can only be enacted when we have love. No true forgiveness can happen without love; it would be impossible to forgive your enemies. We might overlook or put aside what they have done; but if we do not love, we cannot forgive.
The thing is, love is not ours to share with who we thing deserves it; and to keep from those we deem not fit or worthy of it. Love is not ours. Love is a gift from God, a gift He has given to share with all.
Love is not an option; it is a command. We are to love God with all our being and each other as we would love ourselves.
Nonetheless, we continue to hurt and destroy each other. We lie, slander, gossip, plot against, rob, rape, and use our time for destruction instead of love. We lay conscience aside and beg forgiveness, promising God all sorts of foolish things; yet we go out, having experienced the love of God, and treat another with cruelty.
The twist to this story is that God ain’t foolish.
The master, having heard what the man whom he had forgiven had done, sent for him and disposed of him.
As unlimited as God’s love is, we should remember that there are consequences for our actions.
To be on the safe side, we should at all times strive to act in love.