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Matt. 18:21-35 Forgiveness

posted Jun 29, 2020, 9:17 AM by Jacob Boer

Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Forgiveness is hard and yet without forgiveness the world would be a dark place filled with even more anger and bitterness than there is now. Forgiveness allows us to live with others, to grow as individuals and even as nations, as we see in South Africa, and it allows for love to conquer hatred. Forgiveness always begins as a choice, a decision to forgive, to let go of what the other person has done to you. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting, but it does mean that you don’t allow it to poison your mind or your heart. Forgiving is always a gift. God offers us forgiveness free of charge through the blood of Jesus; it is offered free to us, but it comes at a huge cost to God, just as when we offer forgiveness to others, the cost of it is carried by us. This is what makes forgiveness so powerful, why it is so hard at times. Yet as we experience God’s forgiveness, this strengthens our own ability to forgive. May the Lord fill you with his presence, love and grace so that you may find the strength and grace to be a forgiver.

Q. What does the fifth petition mean?

A. “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” means: Because of Christ’s blood, do not hold against us, poor sinners that we are, any of the sins we do
or the evil that constantly clings to us. Forgive us just as we are fully determined, as evidence of your grace in us, to forgive our neighbors.