Do we have the right to be unforgiving? Can we pick and choose who to forgive based on their perceived or actual offense? The obvious answer for the believer is no, yet isn’t that what we do? Jesus had an answer for these questions. He placed it at the end of what we call The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6. He very clearly says you will be forgiven by the Father if you forgive those who sin against you. He adds you will not be forgiven by the Father if you refuse to forgive others. So in the very words of Jesus we have no choice if we want to be forgiven by the Father. (Well actually, we have a choice but if we want the ultimate reward of forgiveness…)
In the story of Ruth we discover that when she returned from Moab she was once again received as a member of the community. Isn’t that interesting since God had commanded the Israelites to have nothing to do with the Moabites (Deut. 23:3-6). There is certainly a hidden story of forgiveness here. Ruth and Naomi could have been rejected, ostracized, and asked to leave the community, but that didn’t happen. Instead, a leading member of the community (Bethlehem) married Ruth (the Moabitess) and from that union came Salmon who fathered Jesse who fathered David…Even though God had clearly defined the rules for inhabiting with or aiding the Moabites He chose an obvious rule breaker (Boaz) to continue the family line toward Jesus. He already knew Jesus’ purpose (to seek and save the lost) and planted both the lost and the Redeemed (His chosen people, Israel) in it.