“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.” – Matthew 18:21-23,
The problem with this man was that he sought mercy but refused to live by grace. When he was in need of mercy for the forgiveness of his own debt and grace to live as a free man, he received it. He promptly forgot what it was like to be a debtor in great peril. He proudly lifted his head above his fellows and used his newfound liberation as an opportunity to enrich himself by collecting from those who owed him.
To close our hearts to another person in need is to build a barrier that will exclude God’s grace. When we grow cold to those in our debt, we freeze out the warmth of God’s love from our own lives. We choose to live as debtors again for we place ourselves under the law. For the Christian, this makes no sense whatsoever.
Not to forgive another is to reject forgiveness for an unforgiving heart is rooted in arrogant pride.
If our hearts are touched by grace and we allow that grace to transform us, we will become gracious. The ungracious servant demonstrated that he was still living under the law and thus could only receive what the law demanded.
He rejected grace in his own life. He never grasped the reality that His master’s forgiveness was not because of his position, abilities, or essential goodness, but flowed from the character of the giver.
This ignorance became plain when he dealt with the one who owed him a great debt. His harshness boomeranged back to him because it was the rule of his life.
We do not receive good gifts from God based upon our performance or just deserts. As we have received grace, let us, with open-handed love, be gracious to others. If this comes with great effort to us, let us revisit our salvation experience come to a deeper experience of God’s grace.
When we understand that, it will be reflected in all our relations.