Matthew 6:12 NLT
'Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.'
Caring for Katey as her MS advanced was a costly business. It demanded much, emotionally and physically, and also financially. She enjoyed a small pension from teaching, having taken early retirement through sickness, while I wanted to be as close as possible so stepped back from my career and became self-employed. Once she died we had run up some considerable debt. This indebtedness weighed heavily. Each month I had to find the cash to service a credit card debt which was the only means I had for finding money when Katey was ill.
One day a letter arrived through the post and I learned that an aunt I hadn’t seen for years had left me some money. It was sufficient to wipe out my debt. The wave of relief was immense. I felt the weight of servicing that debt lift from my shoulders. I found a fresh freedom.
Jesus reminds his disciples that because of the cross and resurrection we owe God nothing apart from our loyalty. Here lies a critical aspect of kingdom living. Because I’m forgiven, debts written off, I choose to forgive whatever I feel is owed me by others. For me this is both a mental and, more importantly, an emotional, psychological issue for I am loath to forgive where I believe I’ve been wronged. I hold onto resentment and criticism too easily.
Jayne and I recently reviewed our conversations. Sadly, a good percentage was about others and we acknowledged that we made quick, often harsh, judgements. How sad we made time to do this and challenging that we talked of others more than ourselves or our walk with God. Those we spoke of, we silenced, simply by excluding them from the conversation. This was particularly true in speaking of Mum, for we’d offload frustrations onto each other.
Wiping the slate clean is tough to conceive of and to deliver on, yet sits forever in the shadow of the total debt relief I enjoy through God’s forgiveness. If I choose to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, learning to forgive and let go becomes a central Christian practice and discipline.
QUESTION: Do you carry any criticism and resentment in your heart for others?
PRAYER: Lord, I have been forgiven so much, help me to, with freedom, forgive.