In Touch Daily Devotional
by Dr. Charles Stanley
October 26, 2007 – When Others Fail Us – Matthew 18:21-35
You’re in a difficult situation, and one by one, friends have fallen away. Now the pain is worse because you’re suffering alone.
Why did these people desert you? There are many possible reasons. For example, they might have left because they felt inadequate. Or maybe they couldn’t stand to watch you suffer. Perhaps, though, some had their own best interests in mind and feared falling into similar trouble or being associated with a socially unacceptable situation.
You might wonder how to respond to them. Whatever the reason was for desertion, there is only one appropriate biblical response— forgiveness. It doesn’t make any difference what a person does to us; we never have the right to withhold forgiveness.
After being left alone during his Roman imprisonment, Paul wrote this about those who had abandoned him: “May it not be counted against them” (2 Timothy 4:16). In other words, he forgave them. The apostle probably remembered what happened when
Stephen was stoned. Paul had been present as one of the persecutors, and he heard the dying man cry out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60).
But Paul may have had an even greater act of forgiveness in mind: Christ’s atoning death and His attitude toward the crucifiers. Jesus had prayed, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
We don’t have a right to withhold forgiveness from anyone, and that certainly includes our friends. Is there someone you need to forgive? If so, do it today.
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