Journaling a gospel is so different than journaling Genesis. Jesus spoke so much in pictures, that there is too much to put on a page. Having four gospels helps, it means that you can pick and choose what to put on the page. There are some passages, however, that shout out to you – it’s true that scripture is alive.
At the time I completed this page, we were going through a series on Galatians at church. The preaching had been re-establishing the amazing message of grace that I have heard for many years but that many new-comers may not have heard before. This parable teaches about grace.
A servant who owes much more than he will ever be able to pay – even if his whole family worked to pay off the debt they would not be able to do so. The master hears the servant’s plea for more time, and goes beyond mercy. He cancels the debt completely. The parable then follows the servant who then shows no mercy to someone who owes him so much less than his cancelled debt (still substantial but not insurmountable).
This is a challenge! I tend to be someone who gives justice a high value. I really hate it when things don’t turn out the way my black and white brain thinks it should. I struggle with the ‘Oh well, never mind!’ attitude and often get into trouble for it. It’s okay, I know that it isn’t always a bad attitude to have. But in cases like the one in this parable it really brings it all the surface – I think that was what Jesus wanted. This person walks away from being released from his debt and immediately responds with a horrid attitude. The freedom giving elation of having his own family free from the threat of slavery and all his wages going towards paying off an unattainable debt is completely forgotten in a moment. What an idiot!
Oh no! Wait! … when I think about the massive debt that no amount of hard work can pay off, the horrid sin that I cannot cleanse myself of, all of which I have been forgiven, how can I behave like this servant and withhold forgiveness from someone else? I have no right to pass judgement. It is difficult to forgive. Someone hurts you and all of a sudden, forgiveness is way down on the list.
There is a cost to forgiving a debt. The cost can be anything from giving up the right to see justice how you want it, to not being able to gossip about the misdemeanor. It includes all the in-betweens. I wrote a little about forgiveness and unforgiveness here. Unforgiveness only breeds bitterness and bitterness makes a heart like stone.
With perspective, sin, both mine and yours, against a Holy GOD is the most offensive.
The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. Matthew 18:27
GOD not only forgave us our sin, but He made it possible to be forgiven. He took pity on us, cancelled the debt by paying for it Himself and lets us go in freedom. Jesus paid my debt and yours in full. There are no hidden costs or taxes to pay. We cannot contribute to the payment by proving that we are somehow worth being let off the hook. Without this payment of our debt, we are prisoners and dead. This is grace from our Just GOD. We used to help the young people and kids in the church to remember what grace was all about using this method. GRACE – GOD’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
I am reminded of GOD’s call to follow him (Immediately and without delay!). I want my life to display Jesus and to celebrate the unmerited grace that GOD has given to me. When I am overwhelmed by this truth of grace there is nothing that can hold inside, it has to bubble over and be part of my everyday life … even in and through the difficult moments with others. It is eternally bigger than the hurts, offences and damage that I may have suffered. My desire is that His miraculous generosity toward me would fill my vision and give perspective to the debt that I feel I am owed. It is difficult… but I think as long as I keep looking at Him and seeing what He has done for me, we can do it together.