Living with the end in view involves
And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses. (Matt. 18:34–35)
Jesus had finished speaking about reconciling a sinning brother. Peter thought he had grasped Jesus’ message when he asked, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” (18:21). Peter thought it was generous to grant an errant brother forgiveness seven times. But Jesus replied, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (18:22).
So urgent is God’s plea for reconciliation that He demands that we not shut the doors of mercy at all. How do we develop this forgiving spirit? Jesus taught the basis of forgiveness with a story.
Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.
The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, “Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.” Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. (18:23–27)
Then the same servant went out and demanded payment from a fellow-servant, who also begged for time to repay his debt. But the first servant refused. When the king was told this, he said to the first servant, “You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?” (18:32–33).
What was the fate of the unforgiving servant? “His master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses” (18:34–35).
Peter was probably surprised to find the standard for forgiveness higher than he thought. The servant found the king placing a higher value on forgiveness than expected.
To be ready, let’s keep Christ’s own example before us. At the cross Christ prayed for those who insulted His dignity, mocked His claims, and ripped His flesh, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34).
We’ll develop a forgiving spirit by prayerfully remembering the example of Jesus’ love for sinful us. Let’s take the time to meditate on the Lord’s mercy until His love breaks down any dam of bitterness, and let the healing waters of forgiveness flow.
Living with the end in view means to be ready to forgive.
Steps of faith:
Beware of an ungracious, vengeful, or bitter heart toward others.