37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.
41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
Nelson Mandela was arrested in the 1960s in South Africa for protesting and campaigning against the Government. At the time, there was an institutional, legislated form of racial segregation and discrimination in place in South Africa called apartheid.
Mandela served 27 years in prison, and during that time, while he was not tortured, he was treated as badly as you could imagine. One guard, Christo Brand, recalled that Mandela was described to him as “a terrorist who is trying to overthrow your country.”
Just 4 years after his release, Mandela was made president of South Africa, and within a few months of his appointment, he invited a group of his former prison guards to a private meeting at the presidential residence.
During that meeting, Mandela is reported to extend forgiveness and friendship to the guards. Christo Brand and Mandela became close friends.
In my personal experience, few people, including myself, have the capacity to extend grace and forgiveness at this level. However, this is what Jesus is calling us to do in this passage, which is similar to the “Golden Rule” passage in Matthew 7:12 where it says “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.”
Lord, I recognise that it is part of being human to hold on to hurt, but to forgive is a divine attribute that you encourage through your Word, you show through Jesus, and you empower through your Holy Spirit. Help me to grow in grace and forgiveness, especially towards those who do the greatest wrongs against me.
Written by Ps Justin Ware