Remove Walls, Build Bridges

Out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.         Matthew 18:27 

For millennia, people who were indigent and unable or unwilling to pay debts they had incurred were sent to debtors’ prisons, or in some cases workhouses, where they would work at less than menial compensation until their debt was paid or they had secured funds elsewhere to pay them. The United States had debtors’ prisons until the years before the Civil War, and they were ultimately declared illegal under the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978. However, courts will still imprison people who avoid paying court fees or fines. 

While the debts in Jesus’ parable of the unforgiving servant are monetary, there are many other “debts” one person may owe another, debts that require the similar sort of forgiveness that a bankruptcy allows in the case of financial debt. Forgiveness is a rational decision, not an emotional one. It takes courage to forgive someone who has wronged you. Sometimes, this is a process that does not happen all at once. As you persist in turning the person and situation over to the Lord, releasing your pain and receiving His healing, the emotions associated with those wounds diminish and eventually vanish.  

Unforgiveness builds walls between individuals, but forgiveness builds bridges. A new mindset replaces the old. Even if reconciliation with a person is not possible, your forgiveness of others strengthens the “bridge“ between your heart and God’s. Pray for the Lord to remove the walls that have been built by actions and resentments among families, communities, and within government. Ask Him to draw Americans to be transformed into the character that comes from knowing Christ, which will soften hearts, enable forgiveness, and heal damaging memories. 

Today’s Verse: Matthew 18:27

And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 

All Scripture quotations and audio are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Recommended for further reading: Matthew 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.” 

All Scripture quotations and audio are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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