"Should you not have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?" Matthew 18:33
Jesus tells the disciples a parable to emphasize that we must forgive others 70 times 7 times. If we do not, we would end up in a place we would rather not be. Most of the time, that place is a hell of our own making. When we do not forgive, it is like putting ourselves in a dungeon and locking ourselves in. Or drinking poison little by little.
No one can teach us more about forgiveness than Corrie ten Boom, who was imprisoned along with her sister Betsie in Ravensbrück, a concentration camp, during the Nazi occupation of Holland. After her horrible experience, she would give talks about Jesus and His forgiveness. One time she recognized a guard from the camp come forward. He said he had become a Christian and wanted to hear it from her lips that he was forgiven. It all came rushing back, her sister dying, this guard's cruelty and now, he couldn't even remember her!
But she put out her hand stiffly, and God flooded her with His love. When it is truly difficult to forgive, we can just take a little step forward, and God will supply the rest. Corrie knew that if she didn't forgive this man, she would remain an invalid for the rest of her life. She saw it in the people she ministered too. Those who remained bitter could not move on with their lives.
I watched Beauty and the Beast last night. One of the things I like about the movie was that the servants were not bitter about their fate. They forgave their master, the beast, because they understood why he became the selfish young man he was, and even took part of the blame. Because of that compassion, they were able to be hopeful, and help save themselves from the horrible fate that awaited them.
Lord, may I always look upon others with compassion and love. If there is any hatred or unforgiveness in me, bring it out so You can help me take the first step and heal me.