No Small Offense

It’s a mere ten days into the new year when he delivers the news that makes my blood boil hot. Bitterness, that tiny seed that is always delivered in the package of an offense, is finding my heart to be fertile soil in which to germinate.

The question churns over and over in my mind: “How do I respond faithfully to this?”

I know the answer as sure as I know my own name.

Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.  ~ Colossians 3:13b

But I discover once again how hard it really is to forgive. When the offense is costly, when it is painful, when it shakes the secure ground on which you stand, it is flat-out hard to forgive.

Jesus knows.

For three weeks I wrestle before the reminder comes my way. Jesus knows how hard it is. He knows the offense is costly.

In  the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus shares a parable of an unforgiving slave. This slave is forgiven 10,000 talents, a debt so large it is impossible to pay back. Then, only moments later, he refuses to forgive a debt owed to him of 100 denarii.

I know I’m skimming past the 10,000 talent debt that was forgiven, but only for a day. Because I know the point is plain to see: God has forgiven a debt infinitely greater than any debt that could be owed to me. So I must forgive, just as He has forgiven.

What is not always plain to see is the debt we are asked to forgive. The 100 denarii debt. See, this is no small debt. A denarius was one days wages, so 100 denarii was one hundred days’ wages for a common laborer. In our day, it represents about $6,000. Surely, no small debt. Think about it financially. How easy would it be for you to forgive a $6,000 debt?

What if the offense isn’t a monetary one? Can you think of a $6,000 offense? This would be an offense that you can’t simply brush off. It’s not like forgiving a friend for forgetting to reimburse the $6 you loaned her for lunch. No, it’s more painful. So painful, in fact, that you can’t easily forget it. Nor can you easily forgive it.

But Jesus knows.

He knows what He is asking you to forgive is big. He knows it’s a real offense. If it were not, it would not need to be forgiven.

Yes, Jesus requires the forgiveness, and we’ll talk more about that tomorrow. But for today, when the tears are burning hot in your eyes over the pain of a very big offense, I want you to hear the truth that comforted me.

Jesus knows it is no small offense.

In hope,

About Shelli Bourque

An ordinary girl living by the grace of life in Christ. Adoring wife and mom. Lover of quiet places and uncluttered spaces. Beauty seeker and image maker.