Unstable — the difference between forgiveness and destruction

Unforgiveness is like a volcano. High-pressured, unstable, and destructive.

Matthew 18
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Forgiveness is hard, especially when it’s personal.

There are still aspects of my life that I wish were different, that could have been easily resolved without the transgressions of people closest to me.  And because I’m a human and my blood runs hot, I trip over myself often. Even simple reminders can cause history to resurface, like instability under the earth’s surface inducing a volcanic eruption. And this constant cycle is crippling

I believe forgiveness is ongoing — there are certain events that don’t just go away, requiring us to be in a constant state of humility and forgiveness.  Perhaps when Jesus said “seventy seven times”, he wasn’t just talking about the quantity of a brother’s transgressions, but the frequency of which we have to forgive the brother in order to stay “even,” to shed our bitterness and prevent the festering of old wounds.

It’s a good thing I’m not God — my flaws in this department are glaring. The parable of the unforgiving servant describes this contrast — if you can’t relate to this, you’re lying.

ATTRIBUTES OF THE MASTER
Wants to settle accounts.  Time is up.  It’s time for the master to receive what he is due. Do you believe God is due something? He owes us nothing.
Weighs out actual cost of repayment. Rather than just squeeze ambiguous dues out of people, he insists on calculating the precise cost for each debt. He is not unfair.
Hears the man’s plea for patience. The man approaches the master knowing his debt cannot be repaid.  The master understands this as well, and he listens to the man’s heart.
Forgives the man of all debts. Recognizing the insurmountable debt owed, the master writes it all off without hesitation. Likewise, Jesus wiped the slate clean — we get to start over.

ATTRIBUTES OF THE MAN
Vicious and violent. Upon exiting the master’s court with a fresh start, he literally squeezes the throat of his own servant, demanding money immediately. Similarly, it’s incredible what some people do today to save trivial amounts of money. Or time.
Short memory. He forgets the patience and mercy his master showed.
Lacking compassion. Even after his own servant begs for forgiveness, the man tosses him into jail seemingly without remorse.
Unaware of surrounding witnesses. His reputation is on the line.  People are observing his behavior, and they promptly report it to the master. Are you aware of who’s watching? Do you think it’s important?
In response, the master disciplines the disobedience. The master does not punish the wife and kids for his misdeeds — he goes straight to the source.
We’re not far from forgiveness, but I believe we’re just as close to bitterness.  We’re not far from the unforgiving man’s behavior. Take the time to forgive today.  And tomorrow, do it again. Tap into the compassion of the master — be free of unforgiveness today.

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