November 11, 2014
“At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?” Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven. “The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn’t pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market. “The poor wretch threw himself at the king’s feet and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt.” Matt. 18:21-27 The Message
A simple question: how many times do you keep forgiving? The emotional debts pile up .. The moral debts pile up .. and the cost of debt piles up. Relationships in God’s kingdom are formed with forgiveness .. not perfection. Peter wanted to know. The religion-entrappers wanted to know. Keeping score .. adding up offenses .. catching someone else. It all happens so fast .. unpredicted .. out of our control. Except Jesus uses an unpayable debt to demonstrate the freedom of God’s forgiveness. You don’t stay a slave. You become forgiven .. unless your heart goes back to counting. We love in a forgiveness-epidemic in our land. Relationships all around you are torn apart because of unwilling hurting ones refusing to forgive or expecting more. Maybe it begins with you. The first step is trusting the reconciling work of God’s forgiving word in His Son. He forgave you. It is God’s real gift: Freedom and forgiveness. When you forgive .. when you receive forgiveness .. He won’t let go.
“Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt. Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?” “No one, Master.” “Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.” John 8:6-11 The Message