“And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:59-60)
Jesus gives so many wonderful things to those who follow Him. Some of them are obvious and some are not so obvious. Forgiveness is an obvious and incredible benefit to a relationship with Jesus. Our ability to forgive others is a benefit that might not be so obvious. Matthew, before following Jesus, was a tax collector. In his book, Matthew recorded a pertinent parable from Jesus. In this story, a certain man owed a king a great deal of money. The king was moved by compassion for this man and forgave him of all his debts. Ironically, this forgiven man was also owed money by another. Instead of offering compassion as the king had toward him, he had the man thrown into prison. When the king found out… well here is what happened.
(Matt 18:32-34) “Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?”
You have the power to forgive just as you have been forgiven. Each of us has sinned many more times against God than others have against us. Since we have been forgiven of so much, we should in turn forgive. Forgiving or not forgiving others is an act of your own will. It’s your choice. But to forgive others is imitating Christ. Jesus did it, Stephen did it, and you can do it.
“Do not carry baggage from people who have wronged you.”
Heavenly Father, Thank You for forgiving me of so much. I ask You now to help me forgive others. When bad and painful memories come to me, I ask that I would again be reminded to forgive those who have wronged me. I need Your help to do this because sometimes I don’t feel like forgiving. Thank You for setting me free from carrying this baggage and guilt around. Thank You. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
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Scriptural Seeds Ministries