Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Walking in Forgiveness – Part 2

Matthew 18:23-35 Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “At this the servant fell on his knees before him.  ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Pastor Bryan Loritts clarified that Jesus’ parable of the unmerciful servant message above is not about reconciliation, because reconciliation is the process of bringing together former enemies and involves two. Romans 12:18If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” is about reconciliation, and there is no excuse for not doing the hard work of either forgiveness or reconciliation. Yes, there should be justice and consequences for actions, but forgiveness has no loopholes. (2) Forgiveness is costly. If it doesn't cost anything or hurt some, then it isn't forgiveness. There is a cost to “letting it go. Normally, we want to lash back and hurt our offender, having a “you hurt me, so I hurt you” attitude. Blessing someone who harmed you is to willingly inflect suffering upon yourself, not them. But, isn’t that exactly what our Savior Jesus Christ did for us on the Cross?! Didn't our forgiveness come at a great, great cost? We may not want to extend forgiveness to those who wronged us. We all have that person in our life, but don’t wait until you “feel” lead by the Spirit to be obedient and forgive them. We may not feel excited about forgiving, but, by faith, are obedient in forgiveness, then “the feeling” come after. Don’t be led to forgive; forgive.

Psalm 32:1 How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!”

(3) Forgiveness is “Freeing”. Every sin that we have committed and are going to commit in the future has been covered by the blood of Jesus Christ and forgiven (expunged), but are we still tripping over offenses (big or small) against us? In the parable, the denarius was a coin with a value equal to the average day’s wage for the common laborer in Jesus’ day. By contrast, the talent was the largest monetary unit and a man would have to work twenty years to earn just one talent, so ten thousand talents would have been a nearly inconceivable debt. He could not work off his debt, and neither can we. Do see and understand the comparison? Here is the symbolism of the parable: The king is God. The unforgiving servant is humanity. And the debt represents our sin. Do you know how many times that you have violated God? Everything wrong that we have ever done is forgiven, removed from our record and put upon Jesus on the Cross, but someone who does one thing to us … we are not going to let it go? Really? In Jesus’ parable, the unforgiving man has his freedom taken from him and he is put in prison for being shown mercy and then not showing mercy to others.

Mark 11:25-26 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.  But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”

Pastor Bryan explained that, naturally, unforgiving people take a “nobody in and nobody out” position, saying: “Never again will I get hurt this way.” “Never again will I feel the pain that I feel.” So, they hold people away and at bay. We think that the refusal to forgive will hurt the other person, but in reality they are not even thinking about it or us and we are the one who is really hurting. There is no sense of grace, vulnerability, closeness or joy, and you cannot minster effectively to others with bitterness, negativity and unforgiveness because you are stuck in bondage. Don’t let anyone allow you to lose your joy. Godly forgiveness is the most freeing gift that you can give yourself. Why should we forgive? We accrued a debt that we could not pay, but God did for us what we could never do for ourselves. He forgave us in Christ and let it go. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch let me. I once was lost, but now am found; was blind but now I see. God said: “I forgive you.” Forgiven child of God, are you walking in forgiveness as a person of forgiveness to others, as we have been forgiven? Be forgiving.

In Christ, Brian

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