Kingdom Living: Thriving with Forgiveness 13 and you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14 ESV) God forgives our sins, releasing us of any obligation that resulted when we sinned against him. Forgiveness is an act of the will to graciously release a person from any obligation to repay for a wrong. Forgiveness is not just what we graciously receive from God; forgiveness of others is what is required from those who have received it from God. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 ESV) “Forgiveness is giving up my right to hurt you.” (Archibald Hart) 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. (Matthew 18:21-22 ESV) 23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. (Matthew 18:23 ESV) The way we live our lives everyday has a direct impact on the Day of Judgment, when an accounting of our lives will be revealed. God longs to lovingly reward those who are faithful to him, who have been justified by faith in Jesus and live surrendered to him. God is glorified by such living. God is also glorified in his righteous judgment against people who reject his mercy and grace, remaining in sin. 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.” (Matthew 18:21-35 ESV) Summary: With compassion God forgives our sin, and with gratitude we forgive all others, extending mercy to them as God extended it to us. Every person has a sin debt that continues to grow that is unpayable and unescapable by human means. God, who is rich in mercy and full of compassion, offers forgiveness to those who turn from their sin and seek his mercy. The forgiven, transformed by God’s mercy and grace, becomes the forgiver. Unforgiveness: 1,200,000 to 1 ratio. The wonder of receiving God’s forgiveness should prompt us to freely forgive all others. “He who cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.” (Lord Herbert) “Unless you have forgiven others, you read your own death-warrant when you repeat the Lord’s Prayer”—[Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors]. “To be an unforgiving Christian is an oxymoron.” (Greg Laurie) The Challenge: Fully receive God’s mercy and grace, and be fully empowered to forgive others as God has forgiven you.