Friday, July 26, 2013

Understanding Forgiveness

If your brother sins; go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.

Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him … up to seven times?"

Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

Matthew 18:15-22

What does Jesus mean when He says to forgive others: “seventy times seven?”

His answer is another way of saying never-ending or eternal forgiveness.

Jesus is not telling us to forgive our brother 490 times;

but rather that we should always forgive others as He has forgiven us.

 Should we FORGIVE others for much lesser matters than God has forgiven us? 

Yes ... Yes ... YES!

It appears that from the perspective of Jesus … 

the problem is always not nearly as important as the solution.

Jesus instructs us go to our brother, explain how he as sinned against you and the solution is always to seek reconciliation. As Christians we are always to forgive others and to be reconciled to them. To do otherwise is to disregard them with a spirit of judgment. This is the opposite of what it means to be a Christian.

Paul has expanded on this truth when he says: “Our old ways have passed away, and new ways have come. 

Furthermore, we are called to be: ambassadors for Christ with a ministry of reconciliation.” 

As Christians, this is our purpose in Christ for the remainder of our days here on earth.

For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21

 Jesus does not give an option of disregarding this truth. We are not allowed to punish the other person or never speak to them again. If someone has hurt or damaged us in any way, we are to go to them and explain to them how they have hurt or injured us.

Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; (or from a worldly point of view)

When we regard someone else from a worldly point of view (or according to the flesh) we are practicing the opposite of the love of Christ. 

This is hypocrisy at its worst, and most likely demonstrates that a person has an enormous pride problem.

 Paul further clarifies in Ephesians when he says:

But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in [the likeness of] God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE [of you] WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. BE ANGRY, AND [yet] DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. Ephesians 4:20-26

Those who choose to not follow the teachings of the love of Christ, and instead choose to follow their feelings, and to give the devil an opportunity ... are allowing the seeds of bitterness to grow within them. This can only bring evil and harmful results.

The problem here is that revenge in the natural or old ways is a normal response to our human nature. From a human point of view men are naturally vindictive beings, and as a result nothing is more difficult for a person than forgiving someone who has wronged them.

To the contrary, Jesus multiplies his pardons to us, and we should do the same for others. We should always make it our constant habit to forgive others beyond measure. Jesus clearly instructs us to forgive our brother seventy times seven.

When Jesus instructed us in prayer in the Sermon on the Mount, He said; “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.”

The humbled sinner relies only on free, never-ending mercy of God, through the death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As Christians we need to stand upon the continual renewing grace of God, and pray for the Holy Spirit to teach us to forgive others as we stand upon the promise of His grace. If we are to experience the moment by moment grace that God has promised us, we must practice this same grace towards our brothers. 

 In the parable that follows: Jesus explains his application of this principle so that none of us can be confused. Read Matthew 18:21-35 and the application of this truth is clearly evident.

Then summoning him, his lord said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?' "And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. "My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart." Matthew 18:32-35 

Will God reject us if we choose not to forgive our brother? 

For born again Christians, I do not believe so … and this is a parable. 

But I would not want to learn what God will do, 
if I chose to disregard His warnings … would you? 

 God Bless you my friends, Bob

1 comment:

  1. Excellent word, we will do what the bible tells us to love one another with forgiveness heart.