Journey in the Word

Karen Ingrid Clark

You Are Forgiven – The Call to Forgiveness

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Week Five – Day Two – Tuesday, September 27, 2016.

Read MATTHEW 18:21-35 (ESV) SOAP v 21,22wk5d2

21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

O – Forgiveness.  Even when it is not deserved.  (Well, mine wasn’t….) Forgiving, over and over.  This seems to be a passage about relationships that KEEP ON needing forgiveness.  Not a one-time thing, but over and over and over again.  How many times, Lord?  Seven?  (“Well, that’s a lot,” thinks Peter…) “NO!  Seventy TIMES SEVEN!”  Can you just see Peter counting out JUST HOW MANY times that is??

“Peter, in light of what Jesus said about agreement and unity, hoped to sound extremely loving by suggesting forgiving a repentant brother up to seven times when three times was the accepted limit taught by many Jewish rabbis of that time.” (David Guzik – blueletterbible…)

The following is taken from David Guzik’s commentary on blueletterbible….

“So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

  1. So My heavenly Father also will do to you: The principle is clear. God has forgiven such a great debt, that any debt owed to us is absolutely insignificant in comparison. No man can possibly offend me to the extent that my sins have offended God. This principle must be applied in the little things done to us, but also to the great things done unto us.
  2. “We incur greater wrath by refusing to forgive than by all the rest of our indebtedness.” (Spurgeon)
  3. If each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses: With this, Jesus taught an important and often neglected principle regarding forgiveness. There are many sincere Christians who withhold forgiveness from others for mistaken reasons – and they feel entirely justified in doing so.
  4. Their reasoning works like this: We should not forgive another person who sins against us until they are properly repentant. This is because repentance is mentioned in the context of our commands to forgive (such as in Luke 17:4), and because our forgiveness to others is to be modeled after God’s forgiveness of us. Since God does not forgive us apart from repentance, so we should not forgive others unless they properly repent to us. We even have the dutyto withhold such forgiveness and to judge their repentance, because it is ultimately in their best interest to do so.
  5. This thinking – even if it means well – is incorrect and ultimately dangerous. This parable shows us why it is incorrect for us to think, “God doesn’t forgive me without my repentance; therefore I must withhold forgiveness from others who sin against me until they properly repent.” That thinking is wrong, because I do not stand in the same place as God in the equation, and I never can.God stands as one who has never been forgiven and never needed forgiveness; I stand as one who has been forgiven and needs continual forgiveness.

iii. Therefore – if it were possible – we should be far quicker to forgive than God is, without precondition of repentance, because we stand as forgiven sinners who must also forgive. We have an even greater obligation to forgive than God does.

  1. Since we have been forgiven so much, we have no right to withhold forgiveness from others. We are the debtor forgiven almost an infinite debt; will we hold on to the small debits others owe to us? If anyone had the right to withhold forgiveness it is God – and He forgives more freely and more completely than anyone we know. What possible right do we have to hold on to our unforgiveness?
  2. It is also important to understand that a distinction can and should be made between forgivenessand reconciliation. True reconciliation of relationship can only happen when both parties are agreeable to it, and this may require repentance on one or both of the parties in the conflict. Yet forgiveness can be one-sided.
  3. From his heart: This makes the command all the stronger. “If we forgive in words only, but not from our hearts, we remain under the same condemnation.” (Spurgeon)

A – This passage is both convicting and reassuring to me.  First of all, forgiveness is called for – despite repeated offenses.  Seventy times seven is a LOT of times.  I don’t think that Jesus meant that we should “keep track” of times forgiven (“OK that’s ninety three times…”), but that we should ALWAYS be ready to forgive.  But the other side is that forgiveness depends on ME, not the other person.  It is MY responsibility to forgive, regardless of the other person’s reaction, or even their acceptance.  My forgiveness puts me in right standing with my Father, regardless.  And, isn’t that the point?  I can’t be responsible for another person’s reaction, but only mine.

The song from Tenth Avenue North gets the point….. “Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them ‘Cause I feel like the one losin’…..   But truth be told it doesn’t matter if they’re sorry or not, Freedom comes when we surrender to the sound  of mercy and Your grace, Father”    I need the grace to forgive – because unforgiveness affects ME.  “I feel like the one losin’”    And I love the other line – “it doesn’t matter if they’re sorry or not – freedom comes when we surrender to the sound of mercy and Your grace, Father”    I had to type it again to let it sink in…..  My act of forgiveness brings freedom, EVEN IF NOT reconciliation.  Freedom from guilt.  Freedom from bondage.  Freedom from unresolved sin.

P – Father God, thank You for this reminder today.  Bring to mind those that I need to forgive, over and over.  Help me to gracefully, lovingly forgive – without counting.  Bring my heart past the “balancing act” that I play.  Help me not to count, but to willingly forgive – because YOU call me to.  And – that You have forgiven me, over and over and over again.  You don’t keep count.  You don’t bring up my sin and fling it in front of me.  You don’t guilt me into obedience.  Father, give me Your love and grace today.  Amen.

“Losing” – (Tenth Avenue North) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5J7vis9GV8

I can’t believe what she said
I can’t believe what he did
Oh, don’t they know it’s wrong, yeah?
Don’t they know it’s wrong, yeah?
Maybe there’s something I missed
But how could they treat me like this?
It’s wearing out my heart
The way they disregard

This is love, this is hate…
We all have a choice to make

Oh, Father won’t You forgive them?
They don’t know what they’ve been doin’ (oh no)
Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
‘Cause I feel like the one losin’

Well it’s only the dead that can live
But still I wrestle with this
To lose the pain that’s mine
Seventy times seven times
‘Cause Lord it doesn’t feel right
For me to turn a blind eye
Though I guess it’s not that much
When I think of what You’ve done.

This is love, this is hate…
We’ve got a choice to make

Oh, Father won’t You forgive them?
They don’t know what they’ve been doin’ (oh no)
Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
‘Cause I feel like the one losin’

Oh, no!

Why do we think that hate’s gonna change their heart?
We’re up in arms over wars that don’t need to be fought
But pride won’t let us lay our weapons on the ground
We build our bridges up but just to burn them down
We think pain is owed apologies and then it’ll stop
But truth be told it doesn’t matter if they’re sorry or not
Freedom comes when we surrender to the sound
Of mercy and Your grace, Father, send Your angels down

[x2]
Oh, Father won’t you forgive them?
They don’t know what they’ve been doin’ (oh no)
Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
‘Cause I feel like the one losin’
Yeah, I feel like I’ve been losing

Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
‘Cause I feel like the one losin’
I feel like I’ve been losin’

Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
‘Cause I feel like the one losin’

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