Lessons Of A Lifetime

KEEPING SCORE OF FORGIVENESS
OR
FORGIVING FROM THE HEART
SUNDAY JAN. 17, 2021

Scripture To Consider:
“Then Peter came to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all!’ Then the master of the servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave his debt.”

“But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all!’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.”

“So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then the master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” Matthew 18.21-35

Something To Consider:
Peter, who understood that Jesus was speaking about forgiveness, suggested a new rule of thumb for forgiveness. For the Rabbis taught that forgiveness should be extended at least two or three times for the same offense. Peter steps it up to seven times, probably thinking to himself that he was being extremely generous.

According to Jesus, in Matthew 6.14; “For if you forgive men [women and young people] their trespasses [their sins and iniquities], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” That is the good news! The bad news, but the truth is according to Jesus in verse 15; “But if you do not forgive men [others] their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses [your sins and iniquities].”

Something Else To Consider:
Realizing that Peter was more concerned about keeping score than truly forgiving from his heart, Jesus raised the bar of forgiveness to four hundred and ninety times for the same offense. Knowing by then a person would simply lose count and mercifully forgive as God the Father has forgiven us in Jesus.

In other words, according to the apostle Paul and Ephesians 4.32; “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” He continued by declaring, “Recompense [or repay] no one evil for evil. If it is possible, as much as depends on you [and on me], live peaceably with all men [with all people].”

Thus forgiveness is established by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount when He proclaimed; “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you [as difficult as it may be], do good to those who hate you [as humanly hard as that is], and pray for those who despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

How are we doing? Are we still keeping score of forgiveness? Or are we truly forgiving others from our heart? Are we attempting to please our flesh or our heavenly Father? Let us always have this mind that was the mind of Christ! “Our Father in heaven, forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

Something More To Consider:
Jesus taught His listeners in our Scripture to consider about true forgiveness with a parable which demonstrates our individual indebtedness due to sin and our inability of ever being able to repay our debt. But thank God for the truth of Romans 5.8, written by Paul to all true believers in Christ. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”

Are we still keeping score, or are we forgiving others from our hearts as God has forgiven us? It will determine whether or not we receive true forgiveness for our sins! It will determine whether our Master becomes angry with us and delivers us to the torturers for what we refuse to do to others.

A Few Final Words:
Are we doing our part in the faithful spreading of both the good news and the bad news of the gospel of forgiveness according to Jesus? Or are we leaving out important aspects of the conditional forgiveness of God?

Our heavenly Father’s forgiveness of our sin is the basis on which Christianity has been established. And yet, the spread of true Christianity is helped or hindered by whether we forgive others from the heart as God in Christ has forgiven us.

For according to Jesus, “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his [or her] heart, does not forgive his [or her] brother [or sister] his [or her] trespasses.”

Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, thank You for our being justified of all our sin by the precious blood of Jesus, even while we were yet sinners and in rebellion to You and Your Word. In Him Always, Amen!

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