Forgiveness is an Investment


“But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’  So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’  And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.

Matthew 18:28-30

Many years ago I heard an interview on Radio Bible. The questioning went something like this,

Host: To what do you attribute your business success?”

Business man “Good decisions”“

Host “And how did you learn to make good decisions?”

Businessman “Bad decisions!”

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In our personal relationships with others we are always making decisions. We may decide to trust or to doubt. We may choose to forgive or hold a grudge. Each decision is an investment (or lack thereof) in the life of someone else. You might look at the king’s choice to forgive in the parable which Jesus told as a bad business decision. He could have legally sold this dishonest servant into slavery to recover some of his loss or he could have had him thrown in jail. But instead of richly deserved punishment, this king decided to invest mercy in his servant’s life.

Yet as in this man’s story it appears that the king had made a terrible choice. Instead of generating a return of gratitude in his servant’s heart, this forgiven man went immediately out and acted mercilessly with others. “What a waste! What an awful decision!” you might say about the king’s investment. You might also add, “So he should never do that again!”

But mercy is not like a worldly investment. Jesus parable shows how God forgives each of us. We are exactly like the dishonest thieving servant. We have cheated and stolen and yet God has for two thousand years continued to invest forgiveness in us. How often we must have grieved God’s heart when we failed entirely in our response to his mercy! Is there someone today in whom we can begin to invest even a tiny part of the forgiveness God has given us?

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