Pastor Shim’s sermon this week had people really thinking—particularly since he told people they perhaps needed to act on this before they took communion. This is a continuation of his sermon series on The Lord’s Prayer.
Pastor Shim reminded us of the parable in Matthew 18:22-35: A king had a servant who owed him 10,000 talents. When the servant couldn’t pay, the king said he would sell him, his wife, his children, and all that he had. The servant bowed down before the king, begging patience until he could pay the bill. The king relented and forgave him the debt. The servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, grabbed him by his throat and demanded payment. His fellow servant also begged patience, but the first servant would not relent. He had the second servant thrown in prison. When the king found out, he was furious. He took back his forgiveness and threw the wicked servant into prison to be tortured. Jesus said our heavenly Father would do the same to us if we did not forgive our debtors.
God wants us to live by his principles. Romans 12:17-21 says, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord. On the contrary, If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
A man was killed and his killer brought to justice. The victim’s parents and grandparents sat through the two weeks of the killer’s trial. At the end, the grandfather stood up in the courtroom and told the killer he (the grandfather) forgave him for Jesus’ sake.
In a church Pastor Shim served, a woman who was active in the church had a grudge against him. He prayed and asked if he had done something against her, and he went to her and wrote to her to ask, but she wouldn’t tell him. Finally, she left the church. After Pastor Shim went on to another church, she came back—but only stayed there a year. The problem remained unresolved. Where unforgiveness remains, the problems remain.
Why do some people forgive and others do not? One reason is we don’t know the joy of letting go of resentment; another might be pride and bitterness in our hearts. Such stubbornness is costly because no one can disobey God and win—that’s like fighting gravity, it doesn’t work.
We need to ask the Lord to help us forgive, to relinquish that power over another person. Otherwise, we become victims of our own hurt. That bitterness builds a wall, not just between us and the person, but between us and God. God ALWAYS says yes when we ask Him to forgive. We can forgive with His help. Leave it up to God to punish—it’s not our job. Let go and do the loving thing—forgive. When we do, we restore harmony.
We can relieve the hurt in ourselves and others by becoming agents of grace. Give to God what hurts you.
Here is a prayer to help us in our spiritual journey, written by Dag Hammarskjold, the former UN Secretary:
“Give me a pure heart, that I may see Thee; a humble heart, that I may hear Thee; a heart of faith, that I may abide in Thee. Amen.”
My brothers and sisters, God wants us to seek his forgiveness to free us from past guilt; to seek his reconciliation to free us to worship and fellowship; to seek his approval to be his agent of grace to the lost people.
Such is a life of grace - freely received and freely to be given---- Amen