Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea : Forgiveness

Our reading today is Matthew 18: 21-35
  In verse 21 Peter asked Jesus, how often should we forgive when a brother sins against me? Seven times?  Jesus answered, not seven times, but seventy times seven. That's a lot of times of forgiving. I am reminded of a Veggie Tales video called the Grapes of Math, which discussed this subject. One of the characters asked how much is 70 times 7 and the little girl grape piped up "four hundred and ninety!" The point is, continually forgive.
 Jesus then told  the parable of the servant who owed his master ten thousand talents. His master wanted his money back but the servant could not pay.Of course the master ordered him and his family sold so he could get his money. But the servant pleaded with him for more time so that he could repay. The master had compassion on him, and forgave the debt.
  Later, the servant saw a fellow servant who owed him a hundred pence. He asked the man to repay him, but the man could not pay. He too asked for more time, but the first servant insisted on sending the man to prison until the debt could be paid.  His fellow servants saw this and reported back to the master. The master was angry because he had forgiven this man his debt, and he did not have the same compassion for someone else. He was delivered to the tormenters till the debt could be repaid.
  In verse 35 Jesus says: So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Is it always easy to forgive? No. Speaking from experience, it's not. Our  human instinct is to want retribution. But while some things should be punished, we should forgive anyway because the bible tells us if we choose not to forgive others, God may choose not to forgive our trespasses. It's our choice. 
  Living with hatred and unforgiveness in one's heart does nothing to the one who wronged us. We pay the price on that one. It eats at the soul and makes one bitter. You've seen people like that. Sister I'mRight who sits in the corner with a frown on her face because back in 1976 Brother Made a Mistake said something that upset Sister I'mRight. He has asked forgiveness and has gone on with life, but she just wont give up that grudge. 
  We know that when we choose not to forgive its usually for something that was a bit more serious than that. But forgiveness can be achieved. Sometimes you have to pray to God to help you, and sometimes that means asking God to change YOUR heart. I've been there. If the person could be prosecuted for what he did after all this time I'd want to see it happen, but I also know that his childhood wasn't the greatest and he has many issues I hope he deals with before his time here on earth is done. I hope that someone may reach him so that he may know God's forgiveness and salvation. It's taken me a long, long time to get to that point. I still struggle with it at times. But I know I can be in the same room with him and be a Christian. It was when I chose to begin to forgive him that a lot of my anger and depression began to lift. When I held on to anger and resentment for what he did, he controlled my life. I didn't like that. I much prefer that I be guided by God's Word rather than hatred of a man who did something a long time ago and is no longer in my life. 

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