Grace and Graceless
GRACE is on the endangered list in our churches and society. It seems everyone is demanding their rights, benefits and favors, all the while manifesting little of the same toward others.
Matthew 18 is one of the great chapters in the Bible that offers instruction in the exercise of Forgiveness and the application of GRACE. Peter had asked, “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?” (Mt. 18:21). Peter magnanimously suggested that forgiving seven offenses would be “gracious plenty”! Imagine his shock when the Lord stated, “Until seventy times seven” (Mt. 18:22). In other words, GRACE and forgiveness are limitless…otherwise it would no longer be GRACE.
The parable that follows (Mt. 18:23-35) illustrates a servant who was the recipient of abundant GRACE [forgiven a debt estimated to be in excess of $10,000,000 by today’s standard], but who failed to extend even a minuscule measure of GRACE to a fellow servant [one who owed him $15.00 or less]. The Master [a picture of God] became indignant when He learned that the servant whom He had forgiven much had failed to show GRACE to a fellow servant.
Matthew 18:32-33 – “Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?”
The “graceless” servant had experienced the Master’s GRACE, but had failed to enter into the joy and reality of GRACE and forgiveness.
How about you? Are you a servant of GRACE or a graceless servant? Have you enjoyed the fact of God’s forgiveness, but failed to extend the same to others?
The parable closes with a warning to us all:
Matthew 18:34-35 – “And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”
If you are tormented by troublesome thoughts, take a few minutes and search out your heart. Make sure you are not harboring a spirit of bitterness and resentment; if you are, confess your sin and resolve to forgive.
Ephesians 4:31-32 – “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”