Matthew – Fulfilled.
We will always have people in our lives who need forgiveness for the hurt they deal out daily to us and others. Some people offend, gossip, bring us down and bully probably because they are hurt from people who bully. Sometimes people hurt others because of staying stuck in an immature world where they think they are the only one in the world who needs attention and care. Sometimes we are those people. We all stand in need of forgiveness. Some of us ask for forgiveness. Some don’t. Many hurt people just keep the cycle of hurt going and don’t realize the offense, the need to repent and ask for forgiveness. We, who are hurt, ask, “how many times must I forgive and put up with these people?”
Peter had the guts to ask Jesus this same question. Jesus delivers the profound answer in a very understandable way.
Matthew 18, The Message
A Story About Forgiveness
21 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?”
22 Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.
23-25 “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.
26-27 “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.
28 “The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, ‘Pay up. Now!’
29-31 “The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ But he wouldn’t do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king.
32-35 “The king summoned the man and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn’t you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?’ The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt. And that’s exactly what my Father in heaven is going to do to each one of you who doesn’t forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy.”
–How many times has God forgiven me…without conditions?
–True forgiveness does not add an “if”.
–To forgive is to set things right with God who forgave me.
–Jesus is the supreme example of forgiveness, who laid down his life for me. For You.
–There was a movie years ago (Love Story) that had a famous, but very untrue quote, “Love means never having to say you are sorry.” World thinking. Jesus says repent, seek forgiveness and then forgive as He forgives us…unconditionally.
What if the person nevers asks for forgiveness? Forgive them anyway. Unconditionally. Peace is the gift for unconditional forgiveness. I want peace. I want to live peace, even in the eye of life’s storms that come and go.
–Forgiveness lives at the corner of mercy and grace.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the forgiveness of all our sin. I repent of those times I hung on to the offense and hurt without forgiving for fear of being hurt again. It doesn’t work that way and you have reminded me of that once again. I will pray once more, like you taught us to pray, with repentance in my heart, “Forgive us our sin as we forgive those who merely hurt or offend us.” Lead us not into the temptation to hold a grudge, but deliver us from this evil that constrains us and holds us back from your gift of peace.
In Jesus Name, Amen