Luther Seminary God Pause
Friday, 9/12/2014 Reading: Matthew 18:21-35
For many years I struggled to forgive someone I believe treated me unfairly. Whenever our paths would cross, I'd find myself bitter and consumed by negative thoughts. I eventually realized I didn't even like myself when this individual was around me. I shared with a friend the struggle I was experiencing. Her wise advice was this, "If you can't forgive him, try starting by letting it go." It was amazing how the gradual act of letting my anger go helped me work toward actual forgiveness.
Peter struggled with the concept of forgiveness, too. When he asked Jesus about it, Jesus responded with these words: "Forgive not seven but 77 times." While Jesus' response sounds formulaic, his message is clear: "Forgive always or without limits." Forgiveness is rarely easy to do, and there isn't a simple formula for living it out. Sometimes it means starting by letting something go. Sometimes it means forgiving someone over and over again. Whatever the case may be, it is an act of the heart that opens us up to live more fully into the life that Jesus desires for us.
Lord, forgiveness is hard. Help me to open my heart to my brother and sister. Nudge me to forgive others as you have forgiven me. Amen.>
Lisa Kipp Pastor, Zumbro Lutheran Church, Rochester, Minn. Master of Divinity, 2013
Matthew 18:21-35 (NRSV)
21 Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?" 22 Jesus said to him, "Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. 23 "For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25 and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26 So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, "Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' 27 And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, "Pay what you owe.' 29 Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, "Have patience with me, and I will pay you.' 30 But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. 31 When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, "You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?' 34 And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. 35 So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart."
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