September 15, 2014

Matthew 18:35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

This is the end of the passage where Jesus tells Peter that he should forgive someone who “sins” against him not seven times but seventy-seven times (or seven times seventy). He follows with a story of which the above is the summating statement. Forgiveness is a tricky thing. I’ve heard it said you can forgive but you can’t forget. It is true that while you have some control over what you obsess about you can’t necessarily will away memories. Forgiving may include holding a person accountable for their actions or letting them deal with the repercussions of their deeds or stopping them from continuing to hurt you or others. If you know anyone who has dealt with an addict, particularly a loved one who was addicted, you know how difficult this can be. But, as happens quite often in the gospels, the focus becomes the state of your own heart. To forgive from the heart may mean that your heart will be broken. It may mean feeling the pain a person has inflicted but trying to hope for their good rather than seeking vengeance or returning pain for pain. It may bring us hopelessly before God as we realize there are people and situations where we are not currently able to forgive from our heart no matter how much we may agree that we should. The culture wants to know, “What’s in your wallet?” God wants to know, “What’s in your heart?” How will you deal with the issue of forgiveness before God this week?


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