Gratitude Facilitates Forgiveness
I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you? Matthew 18:32-33
Sometimes I forget to thank the Lord for the depth and breadth of His forgiveness in my life. Once I was an enemy of God, now I am His servant and friend. Once I was a child of the devil, now I am a child of the King. Once I was deceived by the father of lies, now I am set free by the truth—Jesus Christ. The deeper my well of forgiveness the larger my capacity to draw waters of forgiveness to refresh others. Gratitude to God for my forgiveness facilitates my forgiving others.
Jesus illustrates the connection between gratitude and forgiveness by telling the story of one man who never grasped the vast degree of God’s forgiveness. Maybe he felt entitled not to share something as special as the Lord’s mercy and grace. He misjudged God’s judgment when this unforgiven man became judge over his servant who was in need of lesser grace. Instead of showing mercy that was modeled by his master, he withheld what was so freely given to him. The unmerciful man took God’s mercy for granted. Gratitude could have facilitated his forgiveness.
“Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 106:1, NJKV).
What blessings come to mind when you contemplate Christ’s goodness? How deep and wide is the magnitude of God’s grace and mercy in your life? Thank God for His patience, ask Him to grow your soul with His generous mercy. Pride resists reaching out to a relationship that hurt its heart, but humility finds a way not to stand in the way of the Spirit’s work. Anyone can ignore someone who ignores them, but thankfulness initiates an interest in what interests the estranged. Meet them where they are comfortable and listen to their issues. Gratitude facilitates forgiveness.
Our mortal mind is limited in its understanding of eternal love and our faith easily forgets how foreign our heavenly Father’s forgiveness was to us. Thankfulness, like a rudder on a boat, keeps us moving toward a growing heart of forgiveness. When gratitude to our Savior Jesus grips our heart, we can’t help but extend mercy and grace to a graceless face. Remember how far your heavenly Father has brought you and you will go further in your forgiveness. Be a facilitator not a disruptor of forgiveness. Express your genuine gratitude to God by your generous forgiveness.
“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:15).
Related Readings: Psalm 32:1; 2 Corinthians 9:12-15; Philippians 1:3, 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:13