March 27, 2020
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. ” - Matthew 18:21-22
In answering Peter’s question, Jesus articulated a standard of unlimited forgiveness in the body of Christ. Believers must forgive other believers repeatedly. Peter wanted to limit forgiveness in the body of Christ. He wanted to impress Jesus by expanding the rule suggested by the rabbis. The rabbis said it was sufficient to forgive a brother only 3 times. After sinning against you 3 times the rabbis said you have no obligation to forgive him again. The rabbis suggested measuring forgiveness. They suggested pouring out forgiveness like an ingredient in a recipe. They proposed a limited amount of forgiveness be extended to your brother. Peter suggested that a sinning brother should be forgiven 7 times. If he sins against you 7 times. If he stands before the church body 7 times, we should take him back into the Fellowship 7 times. But on the 8th event of sin he should forever be cast aside.
That sounded reasonable to Peter. That probably sounds reasonable to you. But God’s way is not man’s way. Jesus said there is no limit on the amount of forgiveness we should extend to our brother. To illustrate this standard, he told a parable the 1st part of which illustrates why there must be unlimited forgiveness within the body of Christ. We forgive without limitation because the God we serve forgives us without limitation.
Jesus said: a king called together his finance officials for an appointed day of accounting. One of his officials owed him the astonishing sum of 10,000 talents, approximately $20,000,000 in today’s currency. We are not told how he accumulated the debt. Perhaps he had misplaced the king’s money. Or perhaps he had been robbed of money due the king. Or perhaps he had stolen the king’s money. Regardless, all we know is that he owed the king $20,000,000. When he stood before the king at the time of accounting, he heard the verdict, he, his wife, his children and all his possession would be sold to repay a portion of the debt. That verdict was more than he could bear… he flung himself at the feet of the king and begged for mercy. He promised full repayment knowing he could never repay the full debt. He asked for an installment plan and the king refused. Surprisingly the king absolved him of his obligation to repay the $20,000,000. The king told him to go. The king told him he was free. That’s the king’s standard of forgiveness in the body of Christ. It is without limit.
Can you extend to your brother and sister unlimited forgiveness?
Yours In Community Transformation.
Rev. Gillard S. Glover
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