I have a friend who recently went through some tough times. She had to eat a little humble pie, as she called it. It was hard on her, and as is true of all of us, caused her emotional pain and a little embarrassment, too. Who hasn’t been there?
What struck me about my friend’s attitude was the statement she made after all the stress had settled. She wrote: " the beauty of Christianity and fellow Christians-in the world when we eat humble pie, people want to keep dishing it out to you-but our brothers and sisters in the Lord, want to take your "humble pie" and give you ice cream instead".
I love that! I think it shows a heart that is willing to learn and grow from mistakes, and more than that, a heart that understands the beauty of forgiveness.
It made me think of myself. Have I been willing to serve those who’ve "wronged" me the ice cream of forgiveness after they’ve had to eat a slice of humble pie? Or do I continue to want to serve up pie until my own feelings of retribution and revenge have been satisfied?
I want to be a servant who dishes out ice cream. How about you? Here's a parable Jesus told us about forgiveness:
At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, "Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?"
Jesus replied, "Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.
"The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn't pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market.
"The poor wretch threw himself at the king's feet and begged, 'Give me a chance and I'll pay it all back.' Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt.
"The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, 'Pay up. Now!'
"The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, 'Give me a chance and I'll pay it all back.' But he wouldn't do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king.
"The king summoned the man and said, 'You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn't you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?' The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt.
And that's exactly what my Father in heaven is going to do to each one of you who doesn't forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy."
Matthew 18:21-32 (The Message)