At Westlake, we try to make it part of our mission to allow people to use their spiritual gifts in service to God for His glory and for our good. One way that we can do that, is to have from time to time a guest blogger. Today is one such day. I want to take a moment and introduce you to Pastor Harry. I have known Harry and his family for many years, actually pre-dating my time here at Westlake. He and I share a common mentor. Harry is married to Pam, and they have two boys, Mike and Ben. Both of the boys are strong in their faith, and it is a privilege to know them. Westlake had the privilege of ordaining Harry several years ago. He has served at some churches in Virginia and outside of Virginia. He currently is part of a jail ministry here locally. Without further ado, here is a devotion from Pastor Harry that I hope will challenge you and encourage you.
Take a moment and think about a time or times when a person said or did something against you. How did you feel and what did you do about it? Maybe the person intentionally did it or maybe you just took it wrong. Whatever the reason, there was tension. Have you forgiven that person or are you still holding a grudge? When someone wrongs us, should we forgive him?
Jesus tells a parable, in Matthew 18, about an Unforgiving and an Unmerciful servant. A king, of a certain kingdom, demands to be repaid by this servant. If he didn’t repay the great debt he owed, the servant, his wife, children, and all that he had would be sold. There was no way for the servant to pay the debt back but he begged the king to be merciful on him. The king had compassion on him and forgave him the debt he owed.
Later, the servant went out and demanded, from another servant, to be paid in full. The amount owed to him was significantly less than what he owed the king. The other servant asked for mercy from the first servant but he refused to give mercy and he cast his fellow servant into prison.
When the king found out about what the servant did, he was wroth with the servant and cast him into prison until he paid all that was due the king.
We are like the first servant. We owe a debt that we cannot pay. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned come short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death….”
We have sinned against God and we will have to pay for our sins. The problem is, there is nothing we can do to erase our sins and come clean before a Holy, Perfect, and Just God. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
We cannot earn our way to heaven. No matter how good we try to be, our good will never outweigh our bad. So, what is the solution? If you look at the middle part of Ephesians 2:8-9, God says He has a gift for us. The gift is His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus took our place on the cross. He hung on the cross, shed His blood, died, was buried, and rose again the third day. He is the way and the only way to heaven. We can’t earn our way to Heaven but God provided the way. It is free for us. All we need to do is trust Jesus and His death, burial, and resurrection for us.
When we trust in what Jesus did for us, our sin debt is washed away. Like the servant in the parable, we couldn’t pay our debt but it is forgiven.
As you and I reflect on what God has done for us, let us realize no matter what someone does to us here on earth, it pales in comparison to what we owed God. We need to forgive one another because God forgave us.