Jesus said, “…her many sins have been forgiven — as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” (Luke 7:47, NIV)
We’ve been thinking a lot about thankfulness lately. And it seems to me that love comes out of a heart filled with gratitude and thankfulness. Look at forgiveness, for example. When we recognize the magnitude of what we have been forgiven, it naturally generates a spirit of gratitude, thankfulness, generosity, and love.
Jesus tells a parable of a servant who owes this huge debt, a debt so great that there seems to be no realistic way it could ever be repaid. But when the man, a servant of the king, pleads for mercy and forgiveness the king grants him his request, forgiving all of his debts, 100%.
But the man seemed to miss the magnitude of the grace that was shown to him. Because instead of going out with an attitude of thankfulness and love, he instead demands the full payment of a little debt that is owed to him by a fellow servant. He actually threatens him with violence.
When the fellow servant with the small debt pleads for the same mercy that the guy with the huge debt was just recently shown, he is denied most vehemently.
The man was forgiven of so much debt, of so great an obligation, that for him not to forgive such a small debt that was owed to him seems unthinkable. What was he thinking? Or maybe what wasn’t he thinking?
Did he forget how great of a burden was just lifted off of him? Was he not grateful? How could he demand repayment from his fellow servant when his own debts had just been forgiven?
If he was thankful for what happened, how could he not in turn forgive others?
And when the king found out what was going on he took the man, threw him into prison and laid the debt back on him. Jesus seems to be saying if you don’t forgive others after you have been forgiven, it will be worse for you in the end.
The more you recognize how much you’ve been forgiven the greater the love you should feel. And when we are grateful for the grace we have been given, we are more likely to have grace for others.
Read the whole story in the gospel of Matthew 18:21-35.