Matthew 18:21-35

Jeff Cutts considers the importance of taking responsibility for our attitudes.

Jeff Cutts
Jeff Cutts

We all appreciate being loved; we appreciate it when people are excited with us about good things, when people help us to be peaceful. We like it when people are patient with us, and when they are kind and good to us, when those we love are faithful to us and when they are gentle towards us and show self-control.

It is wonderful to receive these Holy Spirit grown attributes from others, but just think for a moment about how this happens. It works when we take the responsibility on ourselves to develop these attitudes; for all of us it starts with 'me'.

God gently challenges and changes us bit by bit and He develops these characteristics in us when we allow Him, then we can be people who show off what God is like. What we receive from God we can show to others, in fact what we receive from God we really must pay forward to others. Here's a challenging story Jesus told in Matthew 18:21-35:

'At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, "Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?" Jesus replied, "Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven. It is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand pounds. He couldn't pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market. The poor wretch threw himself at the king's feet and begged, 'Give me a chance and I'll pay it all back.' Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt. The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten pounds. He seized him by the throat and demanded, 'Pay up. Now!' The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, 'Give me a chance and I'll pay it all back.' But he wouldn't do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king. The king summoned the man and said, 'You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn't you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?' The king was furious and threw the man into prison until he paid back his entire debt. And that's exactly what my Father in heaven is going to do to each one of you who doesn't forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy."'

Forgiveness is a big issue; some people find it hard to forgive a wrong done to them because it might seem to be letting the person who wronged them off the hook. The truth is that if we do not forgive then we do harm to ourselves; we can be hurt and imprisoned by bitterness and the person who wronged us may be oblivious.

There are challenges for all of us today. Is there someone you need to forgive? If that's difficult to do, pray, asking God to help you find that freedom.

What part of your character do you think you need to grow in? Think, before I expect to be shown these things by someone else, I need to have a little look at myself and my attitude to others.

May we find strength and freedom in these things today and follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.