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Day 27 | How repentance makes us gracious toward others
Yesterday, we concluded with this thought:
No one will ever sin against you in a way that’s more wicked and offensive than your sin against God.
While this is profoundly true, it’s also profoundly challenging to embrace and live accordingly. As recipients of God’s incredible grace, we are to lavish that grace on those around us. Let’s take a look at the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant in Matt 18:21-35
21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
When I (Dave) read this parable, I’m totally baffled by this guys response. Maybe you are too? How could you receive mercy on such a deep level only to respond in an unforgiving way to others. But, if I’m honest, this is me all the time. God has so richly lavished his grace on me, yet I struggle to forgive and show mercy in the way I’ve received it.
The more we press into the discipline of repentance, the more I believe we will live out God’s gracious heart toward ourselves (which many of us desperately need) and others.
When I was a kid, I remember going up to my pastor for some counsel after church one Sunday. As I started unpacking my struggles to him, I remember telling him how difficult of a time I was having forgiving myself. I’ll never forget his response: “Do you think you’re better than God?” he asked me. At that moment I needed some explanation cuz I sure wasn’t trackin with him. Of course I didn’t think I was better than God. But the truth is, as he explained, when we are unwilling to walk in grace and forgiveness to either ourselves or others, we are epitomizing pride. If God, the eternal and holy deity, can and will and does forgive us, then who are we, as finite and depraved creatures of dust, to say, “I just can’t forgive.”
Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t believe this can always or even should be an overnight resolution to conflict. For some of us, there are deep wounds that need a lot of attention and gospel care in order to help us heal. This isn’t about a quick, “just get over it and trust God” type of thing. But it is about welcoming the journey toward horizontal healing and forgiveness out of the overflow of God’s vertical healed mercy in our lives.
Today, pray that God would do a profound gospel work in your own heart and allow you to see how abundantly he’s forgiven you in Jesus. Pray for that realization to propel you toward a gracious heart as you show him to others today. Go and repent today. Seek out reconciliation and forgiveness as you embody the gospel and our good Father to a world deeply longing for grace.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you”(Eph. 4:32).
“Freely you have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:18).
Join us tomorrow as we introduce the disciple of fasting. We’ll also give you some practical advice for how to engage in this discipline.
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