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Thursday, March 21, 2024



Matthew 18:23-35



Unforgiveness is an unforgiving taskmaster. It attempts to collect payment for an offense no human has the power to pay. Many Christians haven’t allowed the grace of Jesus to transform their minds and hearts. Without receiving a spiritual understanding of the unconditional love and grace of Jesus in their hearts, they end up in a vicious cycle of unforgiveness. And when you can't receive and give God's grace, you end up in emotional conflicts that tear lives apart. 


In this parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18, the master completely forgave his servant of an overwhelming debt. It was such an exorbitant amount the servant couldn’t have ever paid it off.  But the servant didn’t really hear that his debt was paid in full. He thought he still needed to collect money to pay it. So the servant demanded payment from another servant who owed him money.


Isn’t that what we do when we can’t forgive? Refuse Jesus’ forgiveness of our own debt and hold someone else in debt? Your Master has completely forgiven your whole debt. It has been completely paid in full. You owe nothing because of His unconditional love and grace for you. 


What if that servant in the parable had heard his master correctly?  What if the knowledge of his new debt-free status had penetrated his mind and heart? Joy would have seized him. Peace would have settled fear in his mind. If only that servant had received the message that the master had wiped his slate clean! 


Jesus, your Master, wipes your slate clean! A miracle happens when the grace of Jesus seeps into the depths of your heart. The vicious cycle of unforgiveness ends. The unaccepted becomes the accepting. The unforgiven becomes the forgiving.  Emotional conflicts that result from unforgiveness are healed. When you don't live with the heart of a debt collector, the Holy Spirit flows, transforming and healing, If the servant had received his master's forgiveness, he would have also forgiven the servant who owed him. He would have received the grace of his master and passed it on.


You cannot completely forgive someone’s debt until you believe in your heart that Jesus has completely forgiven yours. When you allow His grace to transform your understanding until you believe your debt-free status in your heart, you have His freedom to give His love away. You love because He first loved you. However, when you don’t allow the grace of Jesus to change your heart, you continue on just as the debt-collecting servant did in the parable. Others “owe” you their affection and love. Since you feel indebted to your Master, you pass on your anger and frustration. Unforgiveness locks you in a debtor’s prison. But the grace of Jesus nurtures peace and joy in your heart. It has the power to set you free. 


Many Christians can’t believe they are completely forgiven because they haven’t received a spiritual revelation of their debt-free state. God gave you freedom from the debt of your sin through the finished work of His Son. At the cross, Jesus took your sins, failures, fears, hurts, and pains into Himself so that you might be free of the debt you owed God. You no longer need to live on the debt-owing side of the cross. Where you once were responsible for your debt, the precious blood of Jesus has presented you blameless without any debt to the Father. You are now completely free to live on the debt-free side of the cross. You have His resurrection power to forgive as you have been forgiven. You have no reason to live in bondage to anything— any sin, failure, fear, hurt, or pain—that Jesus has already died for.


Has His grace transformed your mind and heart to where you believe you are debt-free and you can pass along that freedom to others? Is there someone you resent—someone who has offended you—someone you can't let off the hook? Are you willing to accept responsibility for your life and not blame anyone else?  Or do you believe that someone else caused your life to be the way it is, and they “owe” you for what they have done to you? 


You owe nothing so you are owed nothing. Stop collecting a debt to pay a debt already paid in full! You are meant to live debt-free! Where you love because He loves you! Where you accept, because He accepts you! Where you extend grace because He extends it to you! Where, because you have freely received forgiveness, you freely forgive!



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