Conflict and Forgiveness

UF12

Matthew 18:21-35

 “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.

 “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.

 “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.

 “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.

“When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘you evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.

 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”

 

Matthew 5:39

“ If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also”.

Luke 23:34

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

What does it mean?

The first parable in Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus is saying that you’ve been given a great chance by the omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient God.  It asks the question, who are you to go out and NOT extend the same kindness to others.

In Matthew 5:39 Jesus is saying that if someone comes up to you and provokes you, let it go.  Sometimes, silence is a bolder response than a “smack down”.  God said that vengeance was His for a reason.

In Luke 23:34 Jesus had been tortured all night and hung on a cross to die.  The Roman guards were dividing up His belongings to put on EBAY.  (Or whatever the equivalent marketplace was at the time).  They probably knew what they were doing was evil, but like those who were drafted as Nazis, they did what they were ordered to do.  In retrospect, although they didn’t know what they were doing; it had to be done.  Just as Judas had to sell out Jesus; it had to be done.  It was the plan from the beginning. If Judas doesn’t sell out Jesus; it is NOT done.  If the Romans don’t crucify Christ; it is NOT done.  If it is not done; we do not have a path to salvation.

The most important point in this message is that we HAVE to forgive those who have offended us. I’ve written in the past that I don’t need to forgive a person if they don’t ask for forgiveness.  When you look at Christ being spit on and mocked with a crown of thorns, you have to ask: “Where did the Romans and Jews ask for forgiveness”?  The answer is, it doesn’t matter.

“That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.” Jesus didn’t say from your “Lips”.  He meant, forgive them and turn it over to the Lord.  Vengeance is His.

The same applies for those you need forgiveness from. They may have you blocked on their cell phone or their Face Book account, but you can ask God to forgive the sin you remembered.  I know of a person I hurt badly and am lucky they didn’t come looking for me with a 9mm pistol.  I spent an hour or longer in my room alone trying to think of all the sins I know I blatantly committed so I could ask God for forgiveness.  It amazes me how I remember sins I committed as a child.  It makes me wonder how many I can’t remember or didn’t know that I had committed.

One person died that I was estranged from. Even before his death, I realized that he needed help and his actions, (the lies and let downs), were his shield in life.  It’s how he dealt with an unfair childhood.  Ironically, had I gotten a hold of him and told him that I forgave him, his response would have been: “For what?  I haven’t done anything wrong.”  Forgiveness is something that is expected of you, if you expect forgiveness when the party is over.  As for expecting forgiveness from others, Christ said to turn the other cheek and let it go.  (Note, Christ was not implying that you not defend yourself or your family) He was saying, let it go.  If you’ve forgiven the person for slapping you, you should be able to resist the provocation.

If you detect the feeling of “stubbornness” in your heart, you should make the effort to make things right. If you’ve cursed someone, (i.e., Go to Hell) understand that you are taking that curse to the grave with you.  At that point you truly need to appeal to God’s grace like the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35.

I once learned in an Alanon meeting that “Anger” is a poison that you ingest in hopes of making someone else die.  Therefore, I “try” to live by the creed of :

“Let go ~ Let God.”

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