"A Boundless Measure of Mercy"
Lack of patience regarding the failings of others confirms our need for a greater awareness of how merciful the Lord has been with us.
"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: shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him" (Matthew 18:32-34).
In present day currency, the forgiven servant who would not forgive had owed his lord millions of dollars. His vast obligation erased, the servant then would not forgive his own debtor a sum of fifty dollars. Torment ensued, of the forgiven man who would not forgive. "Rightly so!" we might initially cry - until we realize the Lord uttered this parable to confront our own native tendency to seek the Lord's forgiveness for our sins against Him, while failing to bestow mercy upon those who sin against us.
Terrible as human to human sin is, our wrongs committed against each other pale in comparison to our sins against God. This is why David uttered those strange words of repentance after he finally came to his senses regarding the matter of Bathsheba and her late husband Uriah (consigned to death by David in order to cover the king's sin):
"I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight" (Psalm 51:3-4).
What? Against God only? How could David not consider that his actions constituted grievous sin against Bathsheba and Uriah? The answer lies in emphasis and that which must always constitute our first response to the realization of our sins. Regardless of the severity of our wrongs against people, our wrongs against God must loom largest in our hearts and minds. We sin against perfection of love and good will when we distrust and disobey our Heavenly Father. Moreover, our sins led Him to deliver His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to a field of battle far more fierce than the one which took the life of Uriah. In this most basic sense of truth and consequence, our sins are always against God and God only. Indeed, only in this light do we then see clearly the seriousness and significance of our sins toward people.
Such illumination regarding how much for which God has pardoned us, and the extent to which He went to make forgiveness possible, insulates us from the utterly and absurdly wicked tendency to keep the ledger open regarding the sins of others against ourselves. Indeed, the worst sin any fallen human being has ever committed against another fallen human being, terrible as it is, pales in comparison to our sins against God. In such holy and solemn light, we cannot fail to view each other with a view toward the cross and its boundless measure of mercy. Our Father grants to us the peace of bestowing forgiveness in the awed remembrance of our having been forgiven. Millions of dollars of debt owed to Him wiped clean through the love of Christ for us. Fifty dollars of debt owed to us by others wiped clean by the same love of Christ in us.
"Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye."
Weekly Memory Verse
One thing have I desire of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.