Why is forgiveness NOT a small act?

“Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” Matthew 18:33, (NIV).

The good master in this parable totally canceled his debtor’s very big, humongous, unpayable debt…wiped the slate clean…requiring nothing at all from the one who owed him a vast fortune. In contrast, the forgiven debtor promptly turned around and refused to forgive one very small debt, tiny in comparison and totally payable. He passed up his turn at this one relatively small act of forgiveness.

What? Did he so quickly forget? Actually I think he never faced the weight of his own debt.

What about us? Are we willing to look at our own wretchedness? When/if we do, we can forgive anyone anything. When we finally get it…just how much God has forgiven us…infinitely more than any person can ever owe us, God changes us. A light goes on. No person’s sin, betrayal, heinous crime against us, no matter how heart-breaking, world-shaking or worldview-altering comes close to what we’ve been forgiven. How can we not forgive? Still, we struggle to complete this one small act because we don’t stop to ponder the humongosity of what we’ve been forgiven. 

Upon refusing to do this one small act, the Master in the parable turns the unforgiving one over “to be tortured…” Matthew 18:34, (NIV). Sound severe? I’ve known tortured people with tortured minds…bitter to the core about a theft, a murder, an infidelity, an abandonment and the list goes on.

When we forgive each other, it’s just one small act. It may seem huge to us but how it shrinks when compared to what we’ve received.

Imagine a whole lifetime of piling up one small act of forgiveness upon another, dripping like refreshing dew drops on an arid land! I think it just might bring a smile of delight to the Master Forgiver.


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