Our Duty to Forgive

Luke 17:7-10 — 7 “Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? 8 Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? 9 Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty’” (NIV).

Jesus revealed a valuable truth in this passage as He concluded His teaching on forgiveness. He told the story of a servant who had just finished working all day in the field, and how it would have been inappropriate for his master to give him preferential treatment for doing what was expected.

The servant was supposed to work in the field, wait for his master to eat, and then eat and drink himself. The master was not obligated to thank the servant for simply doing his job. It would have been wrong for the servant to expect his master to reward him for doing what he was told to do.

Jesus used this parable to show us that it is our duty to forgive, and we should not expect a pat on the back for doing something God requires of us. It is our duty to forgive whatever grievances we have against one another and to forgive others as the Lord forgave us (Colossians 3:13).

Forgiveness is unconditional, and it should not only be given to those we think have earned it. T. D. Jakes once said, “When we refuse to forgive, we basically insist on setting our standards higher than God’s.” When we choose to forgive, we are upholding the standards God has set. And we should not expect to have a party thrown in our honor for doing what is required of us.

Romans 4:7 — “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered” (NKJV).

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