“The merciful are blessed, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7 (HCSB)
Have you even been blown away by the generosity of another? Maybe you are in college and instant soup is on the menu multiple times a week. Perhaps you are working multiple jobs, but still not getting ahead financially. Maybe you are financially contributing to some family obligations and do not have much to speak of at the end of the month. What would be your natural response in these situations (and others like them) if someone was to gift you with an unexpected and undeserved need—be it financial or otherwise? You would be stoked, right?! When we are blessed by something that we do not deserve—nor could possibly attain on our own, a sense of sheer gratitude grips us.
Yet, the reverse is also true. When we have many things, but we remain stingy and tight fisted with our resources (e.g. our time, encouragements, finances, and other talents), we harm our ministry to others as believers in Jesus Christ and damage relationships both with God and man in the process. What do I mean?
Jesus tells a story in the Bible to illustrate this very thing with the account of the unmerciful slave (Matthew 18:21-35). A master was owed a crazy about of money from one of his slaves. The Bible states that this slave was indebted to his master for 10,000 talents; which was more than a servant could possibly be able to pay back in a lifetime (Matthew 18:24). The slave was brought before his master to decide his outcome. The master decided to sell the slave, the slave’s wife and the slave’s children to make up for the debt. At this, the slave fell to his feet and pleaded for mercy. The Bible states that the master had compassion on his slave and forgave him of all debts.
Not soon after, the slave found a fellow slave who owed him money and demanded that he be paid! The slave actually begins to choke this guy as he shouts for his money to be paid (Matthew 18:28). Enraged, the slave has his co-laborer thrown into jail until he can pay him back the much smaller amount than the one he himself had just been forgiven of by their mutual master. As word got back to the master of what had happened, he called for the slave who had owed him the unthinkable amount of money. The master reminded the slave that his own debts had been forgiven. Thus, it was now the slave’s obligation to forgive the debts of others as well. For the slave’s greedy and unmerciful spirit, the master had him thrown into jail and punished until he could pay back the amount he himself owed (Matthew 18:34).
“14For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. 15But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.” Matthew 6:14-15 (HCSB)
Ladies, mercy is a really big deal in the kingdom of God. Much like this man, we too have been forgiven of a much bigger debt than we could ever repay. There are no such thing as credit cards in the kingdom of God! We either have the funds to pay the bill or we don’t. God knew that the price was too high for any of us to foot the spiritual bill. That was the point of Jesus Christ coming to earth—as God in the flesh. He was able to be tempted in every way, yet never sin (Hebrews 4:15). He was able to perform miracles and speak of the glory of God (John 21:25). He was able to invite skeptics and heretics alike to put their hope in Himself and find salvation from eternal death (Matthew 11:28, John 8:12 & John 14:6). And He was able to die a criminal’s death, as an innocent man, for you, for me and for the rest of humanity—in order that each of our spiritual debts could be paid—once and for all (1 Peter 2:24).
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (HCSB)
The filth that we allow into our lives and the dirt that resides in our minds are enough to condemn us to death (Romans 6:23). But, praise God for Jesus Christ, who stepped in to pay our account balances in full! As He died upon the cross between two thieves, with His dying breath before giving up His spirit, He stated “It is finished” (John 19:30). Jesus Christ paid the price for all of the selfish, nasty and otherwise unspeakable things that all of humanity has done, is doing and will do to separate us from God. As we confess the shameful things we have thought, said and done to the LORD and earnestly ask for His forgiveness, we are then able to grasp hold of the free gift—the forgiveness of our unthinkable debt to God (Hebrews 1:3).
“13And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive with Him and forgave us all our trespasses. 14He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14 (HCSB)
Ladies, this lesson is hitting me right between my eyeballs today to convict me of how much I have been given. It is now my sincere privilege to pass on the blessing—in the name of Jesus Christ. For if we are always looking for a bargain, an angle or other way to promote our causes—we will find that others will grow disgusted by our onesideness. Rather, when we invest in others, forgive those who have caused us harm in any way, we are furthering the kingdom of God in a very practical way. I challenge each one reading to find someone to show mercy and forgiveness of debt to today. Remember, it’s not because they deserve it, but rather as a follower of Jesus Christ, you too have been forgiven of all your debts. How amazing it is to be debt free! Share the mercy that you have been given.
“Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure–pressed down, shaken together, and running over–will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38 (HCSB)
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