“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him. . . . But he refused.” (Matt. 18:29–30)

ONE OF MY PASTORS gave the following example in a sermon. A man missed his exit on the highway, which resulted in he and his wife being late for an important appointment. When his wife called him on it, he apologized. However, he missed the next exit, and the one after that. Each time he said he was sorry. That pastor concluded that saying we are sorry is not enough. We have to change our direction.

Words are cheap, but actions add merit. The master in this parable was kindhearted enough to give the servant a second chance. The servant, however, didn’t pass on that kindness to someone who was indebted to him. He refused to forgive.

When we ask people to forgive us, let us not just give lip service to repentance in order to get back in their good graces. God very well may be using them to shine the light of truth in our eyes to bring a sin to our attention. Let us utilize that as a lesson.

When we get on our knees before God to ask forgiveness, we must be sincere. We must have the desire to change so we can treat our fellow brothers and sisters better in the future. Our Father knows us inside and out. He knows yesterday, today, and tomorrow. There is no fooling God with flowery prose or teary promises. Christ paid our debt through His death on the cross. But let us never assume that this is permission to continue to sin against others, expecting God to give us the “get out of jail free card” each and every time.

Examine your heart for an attitude of true repentance.

Julie B. Cosgrove is an award-winning, multi-published author who regularly writes for several devotional websites and publications.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.