• Chris Steele

Forgive, It's Our Duty

Be Strong, Be Well — Friday, August 14

In the context of forgiving a penitent brother multiple times (Luke 17:3, 4), the disciples realized their lack of faith in being able to accomplish this (17: 5, 6). Jesus went on to illustrate the point by talking about the duties of a servant. “And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come at once and sit down to eat'? But will he not rather say to him, 'Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink' Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.' " (Luke 17:7-10). Some have a difficult time seeing the relationship between the first part and the second in Jesus’ instructions here. He did link the two with “And" or the KJV and ASV have “But.” Taking it on face value, it must mean there will be no praise or pat on the back when we forgive others, because it’s our duty to forgive those who ask for it. We have no right to be puffed up in thinking how wonderful we are because we forgave someone for the great wrong or injustice done to us. We forgive in the spirit of meekness as an obedient servant. This reminds us of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. First, in His model prayer (chapter 6) He said, our own forgiveness of sin, depends on our forgiving others. Notice the wording, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Then there’s several things the Lord said in chapter 7. First, we’ll be judged by the way we judge others. Second, it’s impossible to help a brother remove a small fault when we have a bigger one. Third, it’s best to treat others the way we want to be treated. May the day come soon when this duty becomes a desire. When we humble ourselves and forgive one another because we keep in mind how often God forgives us. —Chris

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