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A Lesson on Forgiveness

August 30, 2010

Once an incredibly wealthy business man was reviewing his accounts.  In doing so he discovered an employee who had somehow managed to borrow 4.5 billion dollars from the firm without making any payments.  The business man called his employee to him.  He demanded a 25% down payment on the debt and the rest to be paid in 30 days.  The employee was stricken at the thought of having to pay back all that money and earnestly pled that he be allowed some more time in which to adjust his finances.  The employee insisted he was certain that given enough time, and a reasonable monthly payment plan, he could pay off the debt he owed.  Seeing the terror in his employees eyes and knowing that no payment plan he could afford would ever pay off the substantial debt, the tenderhearted businessman immediately agreed to remove the debt.  “Consider that money a gift.”  He told his awed employee.

That same evening, the employee was reviewing his own financial status and realized his brother in law still owed him $4,000.  Immediately he got on the phone and demanded full payment.  The brother in law pled for some more time and promised to pay it all as soon as he could.  The employee would not hear of it, but immediately made plans to sue.  The next day he contacted an attorney and filed a claim against his brother in law for the debt owed him.  Being quite satisfied with his financial prowess, the employee bragged to fellow employees of his shrewdness in dealing with the outstanding debt.  In the course of time, the business man heard of this employees dealings and was amazed.  He called the employee to him, “I forgave you a four and a half billion dollar debt.  Could you not find it in your heart to forgive your brother in law a $4,000 dollar debt?  Are you so ungrateful to me that you would fight and sue for a tiny fraction of that which you had just been absolved?  Since you show such disregard for favors shown, I will now hold you fully accountable for the amount you borrowed from me.  Your wages will be garnished, I will place a lien on everything you own, and on top of that I expect an additional payment each month until this debt is completely removed.”

The inspired version of this tale is found in Matthew 18:21-35.  Jesus point is very straightforward. Those who have been forgiven much- the entire debt of sin that God holds against them, must be forgiving others- the injuries and wrongs that are done to us in this life.  Do you forgive in the same fashion that God forgave you?

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