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Friday, June 9, 2017

Debt Free

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!”
—Matthew 18:21-22 NLT

              Not everyone deals with unforgiveness that defines each waking moment, but some people are consumed with it. They can't offer forgiveness because they haven't allowed the grace of Jesus to transform their minds and soften their stony hearts. When they refuse to receive God's grace and forgiveness, they also refuse to give unconditional love and forgiveness to others. When they can't forgive, they don't have healthy relationships. They end up in emotional conflicts that tear their lives into pieces. Life is a vicious cycle filled with hurt and resentment which turn the heart into stone.

              What about you? Are you one of these people existing in this way? Read the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:23-35, and then consider something perhaps that you had not considered. The servant in the parable did not understand that his debt was completely canceled, and in his misunderstanding thought he still had to collect money from someone who owed him in order to pay it off. What if that servant had heard his master correctly?  What if the knowledge of his new debt-free state had penetrated his mind and heart? Joy would have seized him. Peace would have settled fear in his mind. The exorbitant amount owed to the master could have never been repaid any way, and that debt weighed constantly upon him. If only that servant had received the message that the master had wiped his slate clean.

Jesus, your Master, wipes your slate clean, and cancels the debt that you can never repay.  A miracle happens when the grace of Jesus seeps into the depths of your very being. The vicious cycle of unforgiveness ends. You are accepted so you accept. You are forgiven so you forgive. Emotional conflicts that have resulted from hurt are healed. You don't live with the stony heart of a debt-collector. When you allow the grace of Jesus to set you free, you are free to give His love away easily with no reservations. However, those who can’t forgive continue to collect debts. They refuse the forgiving grace of Jesus. People owe them affection, love, security and affirmation. Since they are indebted and guilty, they feel unforgiven and unacceptable. They easily pass on the lack of their own grace.

              Has His grace transformed your heart to the place when you realize that you are debt-free, and you can pass along that freedom? Or is there someone you resent—someone you can't let off the hook? Are you willing to accept responsibility for your own life and not blame anyone else for who you are?  Through the gift of His own son, God offers you freedom from debt.  At the cross Jesus took your sin, failures, and hurts into himself so that you might be free of any debt.

After the death of Jacob, Joseph’s brothers stood before him requesting forgiveness. Although they had once sold him into slavery, Joseph wasn't concerned about collecting a debt. He wasn't concerned about what they owed him. “Don’t be afraid of me,” he said. “Am I God, that I can punish you?  You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people” (Genesis 50:19-20, NLT).

              Jesus was brought to the position of the cross so He can give you a new heart. He has torn up your debt. He longs you to live debt-free. Where you love freely because you are loved!  Where you accept because you are accepted!  Where you extend grace because you have received grace! Where, in freely receiving forgiveness, you freely forgive. He is your choice.

©2017 Lynn Lacher



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