I was just pondering a recent podcast I subscribe to. It drew me to review a story in the Bible about a man forgiven his huge debt. Then, rather than returning the favor and showing mercy to those who owed him, he instead went out and ransacked a guy that owed him pennies. * ($100,000 vs $10.) It got me thinking… what would cause a man who had just been forgiven so much do something so unmerciful to another. And, then it hit me. Not accepting it for himself. He didn’t really believe it was true. He most likely doubted the heart of the guy toward him…. that he would “probably end up coming back to get the money from him someday.” And, so, in a panic, he tried to gather his outstanding debt so he’d be prepared to pay him back when the guy came asking for it. He had missed the entire thing… he missed the grace and mercy of the man’s act of forgiving the debt.
Then, it hit me. We do the very same thing.
God has given us everything. We are made alive in Christ (Eph 2:5)… We reign in life through Christ (Rom 5:17)… Christ is now our life (Col 3:4)… and the one who strengthens us (Phil 4:13)… We have been given fullness in Him (Col 2:10)… We have been raised to a new life (Rom 6:11)… he has shown us the path of life (Ps 16:11)… All grace abounds to us (2 Cor 9:8)… God will supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19-20)… etc., etc. And repeatedly, in our hearts we say, “Naa, that’s true for others, but not really true for me.” We accept it as “truth”, but we don’t really accept it for ourself.
And, how does it display itself? We try to gather our resources, collect our outstanding debts, get our lives in order, ensure we have money in the bank, garner security, organize our surroundings. We surround ourselves with people who believe and think just like we do so we don’t have to wrestle with the messy, uncomfortable, and often difficult realities of life. And we beef up our spirituality, pray more, be ‘good’, be more holy, DO more. We fear we don’t have it together enough. And so, in effect, we are just like the man in the story. God forgives our debt, offering complete freedom, and we do all we can to prepare for the day we’ll have to pay Him back. It is an ugly thing… and it reveals our doubt of the heart of God toward us.
As with all our discoveries in this journey with Jesus… a much needed course-readjustment is only a heart-shift away. And so (again) So, I do… shift the orientation of my heart… back toward Him. I took a walk and had a talk with the Father. I won’t bore you with the details of the conversation, but my response was ultimately, I will trust Him. He loves me. And I found this true again without having to “do” anything but turn toward Him… and listen. The same can be true for you, too.
I hope today you, too, are aware of the heart of God toward you. It is too easy to forget, too easy to let that slip from our awareness, this fact that God’s heart is for us. His love, friendship, care… His intentions are good.
Learning more and more to love him as a Good Father,
* Matt 18:23-35