“What will change our hearts? The only thing that will change a servant from acting like a king is getting a view of the amazing love of the King who became a servant. We should be in the accused prisoner’s dock, but we put ourselves in the judge’s seat.”- Timothy Keller
“To see the law by Christ fulfilled / And hear His pardoning voice, / Changes a slave into a child, / And duty into choice.”- William Cowper
Timothy Keller concludes Chapter 1 of Forgive with the observation that visible, unusual, evident love marks true disciples of Jesus (John 13:34-35). Furthermore, in his first epistle John drives home repeatedly that extraordinary love gives evidence that you know God personally. Not just in a nominal way.
Above all, Pastor Keller underscores, the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant assumes a life change. That we need to meet the living God through repentance and faith. And this involves receiving more than an abstract pardon. We also receive a new identity as an adopted and unconditionally loved children of God.
In addition, Pastor Keller counsels, if you hold a grudge or retaliate against someone else, you don’t really believe you’re a sinner saved by grace. Even if you profess those words. Because no matter what you say, you deny that saving grace in both your heart and life.
Finally, at the age of fifteen, Hashim Garrett roamed the streets of Brooklyn, hanging out with a gang. One day a gang member shot Hashim six times at point-blank range with a submachine gun. The attack left Hashim paralyzed from the waist down.
At first, revenge consumed him. But during his rehabilitation, a new though came to him. He reasoned that if he took revenge on the shooter, God had cause to repay him for all his sins. Because six months before someone shot Hashim because he was told to do it, Hashim shot a kid on orders from a gang member.
Therefore, Hashim found it impossible to feel superior to the perpetrator. As fellow sinners, they both deserved punishment and both needed forgiveness. Hashim says:
“In the end . . . I decided to forgive. I felt God has saved my life for a reason and that I had better fulfill that purpose.”
Today’s question: When do you find yourself a servant acting like a king? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Complaints around forgiveness”