Melt Your Heart
“Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.” Matthew 6:12, The Message
The head of a corporation was reviewing accounts, intending to collect some of the vast sums of money owed him by his employees. The files showed that one man, a manager, was millions of dollars in arrears. The CEO summoned his manager and confronted him. By now, the amount he owed was impossible to repay. He would have to sell his house and possessions, even lose his wife and kids to pay back the company. When the manager heard the news, he threw himself down. He begged the CEO for mercy. Seeing such despair, the CEO’s heart melted; he picked the man up himself and let him go, debt free.
As the manager left the high rise office building, he saw one of his own subordinates who owed him a few hundred dollars. The manager collared his employee and demanded payment. When the poor man pleaded that he could not pay, the manager threw the man into jail until he could pay.
Now, news of the manager’s cruelty spread, and when the CEO heard it, he was livid. He summoned his manager a second time, and this time the CEO forced the man into jail until his entire debt was paid.
In Matthew 18:21-35, Peter asks Jesus a basic life question, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?” Jesus answered, “Seven? Hardly! Try 70 times seven.” Forgiveness for Jesus was a way of life, not a periodic event. He taught that we all owe God a debt impossible to clear, but when we ask for forgiveness, God’s heart melts, and He washes away our debts with the grace of Jesus. In response to His amazing grace, our hearts are to melt, and we are to forgive others.
All human beings make mistakes, hurt one another . . . sin. We all need God’s grace, and we need to be forgiven. The world is a broken place, and people hurt us. It’s our choice to forgive or not. Jesus urges us to let our hearts melt. As we forgive others, our own hearts are set free—moving us closer to Jesus and to one another.
Frederick Buechner says, “When somebody you’ve wronged forgives you, you’re spared the dull and self-diminishing throb of a guilty conscience. When you forgive somebody who has wronged you, you’re spared the dismal corrosion of bitterness and wounded pride. For both parties, forgiveness means the freedom again to be at peace inside their own skins and to be glad in each other’s presence.” (Listening to Your Life, p. 305)