Sunday, March 24, 2013

Matthew 18:21-22

"Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."
Matthew 18:21-22

I think that forgiveness can be a tough thing for all of us.  It shouldn't be surprising to us that we need to forgive; after all, God asks us to love our enemies.  Forgiveness is part of learning to love... not just our enemies, but everyone.  Later in this chapter Christ tells the story of a servant who owed a lot of money and couldn't pay.  He pleaded for mercy, and his lord forgave the debt.  Then, to someone who owed him very little, he demanded repayment, and sent him to prison because he couldn't pay.  And that is basically the situation that we are in with God.  None of us gets through life, or even most days, without relying very heavily on the mercy of God.  We have so much evil to account for in our lives, and only God can relieve us of that debt.  And he does, gladly.  And after that, can we really afford to turn around and not forgive other people?
Forgiveness isn't easy.  Sometimes we know it will happen again.  Nothing will change.  Sometimes we're upset because forgiving rather than demanding retribution makes us look weak or easily manipulated. Sometimes forgiveness comes at great personal cost.  And so it is also with God.  So often, we turn around after saying the words of repentance, and jump back into bad habits.  Sometimes we, as examples of the gospel to the people around us, make God and the church look pretty bad to others.  And granting us repentance came at *immense* personal cost to Christ.  Today, despite the difficulty, let's grant the mercy of forgiveness to those that need it.  ... And let's also thank the Lord on our knees for his incredible patience and mercy towards us, imperfect as we are.

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