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High-risk investments are made with the hope for a greater return. If we forgive an offense, what will we get in return? Maybe nothing. Or maybe the life we save will be our own.
In the Old Days, online stores didn’t exist.
From the day Jess opened his country store, he earned huge profits because of the convenience. Farmers no longer had to take their buckboards thirty miles to get supplies.
Credit cards weren’t available.
Whenever someone didn’t have the cash, Jess wrote the owed amount in his canvas-bound book, knowing he would be paid when crops were sold. At the end of the harvest, bank deposits would be at their peak.
What if there was no harvest?
One spring, the clouds brought no rain, and all the ponds dried up. In the blistering summer heat, farmers pumped water from the few working wells, enough to keep the livestock alive but not enough for planting. At the end of the season, the whole countryside owed Jess a lot of money.
No one had money to pay debts.
Jess had to close the store, now as bankrupt as the farmers who had no crops. What could he do? He forgave everyone’s debts and ran for congress.
He won by a landslide.
Offenses are like debts, because the injured person is owed payment.
If I am offended and think I am owed at least an apology, what would happen if I chose to forgive instead? My debtors might appreciate my gift and speak well of me. They might even elect me to public office.
But if not, I’ve still done well by making it possible for God to forgive the wrongs I have done.
Jesus said, “If you forgive others for the wrongs they have done, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive them, he will not forgive you. – Matthew 6:14–15