Posted by on Sep 11, 2020 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on Forgive and Reconcile

Dear Lord…as we move through these times in your world, you are talking to us about changes we all need to look at in our lives to help bring people to you. Sometimes we are unsure about how we should accomplish these changes, but you assure us that you are with us always and will never leave us. Thank you for your forgiveness of our shortcomings and for commissioning us to be your disciples in your world.

Our texts for consideration today are from Matthew 8:21-35 and Romans14:1-12. In the Gospel from Matthew, we find Peter asking a question of Jesus. Remember that Jesus has just completed the lesson to them about working with people who are causing issues and accepting that person back when he/she is repentant. In other words, Jesus was teaching the disciples about church discipline.

In this text, Peter asked Jesus about how many times we should forgive someone who is a member of the church and has sinned against persons or the church. He asks if seven times enough. Jesus responds by saying, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy seven times times.” (v. 22).

Jesus then tells the disciples a parable about a servant who asked his master to forgive a debt owed to the master. The debt was huge…10,000 talents. This was the largest amount of money in the roman world. That would equate in our money to several billion dollars and would have been almost impossible to even pay the master back.

The master agreed to forgive the debt after the servant pleaded for the master to have patience in how long it would take to pay him back. Out of pity, the master forgave the entire debt. We can only imagine the relief the servant felt. The king acted as if the loan had never been made.

However, shortly after being forgive of the huge debt, the servant met up with a friend who owed him money. This person owed the first slave 100 denarii. The people in this time earned one denarii a day for their work. This amount would have equated to 100 days of work. The friend pleaded with the servant to forgive him the debt, but the servant refused to forgive the debt and even began to physically threaten the friend.

Friends of both men saw this action and were upset and went to the master to report what they had seen. The servant was summoned by the master and had him tortured until he could repay the entire debt. The servant did not show in any way that his debt had been forgiven, primarily because he refused to forgive a debt owed to him.

What can we take from this story? The first is that owing money is not something that a church needs to gather together to consider. There are NO restrictions on forgiving, as Jesus said forgiveness must be seventy times seven times. Forgiveness is between individuals, but can often contribute to issues within an organization.

This parable warns us that those who are brothers of Jesus who are saved and have received forgiveness from God are to exhibit this forgiveness by forgiving others . However, if these people refuse to forgive others, they will be disciplined by God.

Paul is discussing the subject of differences in eating between Jews and Gentiles. They were at serious “odds” with the differences. Paul told them not to regard the practices and beliefs with contempt or judge the people. He is asking the people to accept each other’s decisions and beliefs and realize that God accepts all people. He asks them to give thanks to God for all they have, rather than arguing and judging, which causes dissention and separation.

In verses 7 through 9, Paul states that only Jesus has the right to prescribe specific behaviors when there is no specific rule in the Scripture. He assures them that God will deal with what is wrong and only He is the one to judge.

Ultimately, as with Jesus’ discussion of forgiveness, Paul is talking about people within the church reconciling with each other. Doesn’t the subject Paul discusses, that of differences of opinion on how things within the church should operate, often form strong opinions that can separate people within the church? Paul asks for people to accept each other regardless of specific practices. Can acceptance often be considered forgiveness, especially if strong, hurting words have been said against each other?

Jesus is asking us to show forgiveness. If we show forgiveness to others, we are exhibiting the fact that we, too, have been forgiven. Forgiving someone for something horrible that has been done to us is difficult. But, you will feel a huge lightening of your very being….your very soul.

Think for a few minutes about how you felt when you forgave someone. How did you feel? What was the difference in your life?

We are being asked today to remember that the person to may have hurt us is a human being just as we are. We give up the option of getting even. We will not excuse the person for the deeds, but we will think of that person in a different light and move on.

Reconciliation requires forgiveness. Jesus is asking all to forgive others as we have been forgiven and then be able to reconcile with each other and help spread the Good News to the world

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