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Summary: As representatives of God’s Kingdom, all Christians must forgive others as they have been forgiven by God.

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INTRO

Gonzaga Players Arrested for Pot and Mushroom Possession: In an absolute shocker, two college kids from the Pacific Northwest have been arrested for marijuana and mushroom possession. Josh Heytvelt and Theo Davis were pulled over by police for a broken taillight, but inspection of the car yielded both pot and psychedelic mushrooms. The two players have been suspended from the team indefinitely. The marijuana possession charge is only a misdemeanor, but possession of psychedelic mushrooms is a felony. Heytvelt was the second leading scorer for the Bulldogs, who are tied for first in the West Coast Conference. Davis has not yet played this season after shoulder surgery in October. [2/12/07]

Gonzaga basketball players caught with psychedelic mushrooms and marijuana in a vehicle a couple weeks ago. Not too surprising – lots of college students use drugs regularly. Disappointing if you’re a Zag fan, but not all that shocking.

A couple days later I was interested to hear Kiro radio talk-show host Dory Monson discussing this news story. His question that he was soliciting opinions from others was this.

Since Gonzaga is a Christian institution, should the university act with more leniency (forgiveness and grace) and allow the players to play if they were repentant, or should they bring down strict discipline upon these student athletes?

What do you think? How many of you think the right thing would be to act lenient? How many of you think the right thing would be strictness?

Forgiveness is a sticky subject. As parents we always ask ourselves how much “grace” to impart to our chidren, and how much they need to live with harsh consequences for bad decisions. Children and teens must learn how to deal with friends who are fickle. Do you keep on trying to develop a friendship with someone who has hurt your feelings? It can be hard to know how to act. Sometimes we have been hurt repeatedly by relatives who abused us rather than nurtured and loved us. What are we supposed to do then?

Jesus once told a story to his disciples about forgiveness. It’s found in Matthew 18 starting in verse 21. The setting is given as the following:

Peter comes up to Jesus and asked him “How many times should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”

Jesus chuckles and says, “No – try seventy times seven!”

Then, as if that wasn’t enough of a shocker, he tells the following story.

Let me tell you about the Kingdom of God. It is like a King who had lent out money to different people and then decided it was time to get his money back. One by one he called the debtors before him. One man was brought before him who had racked up an amazing amount of debt – about $10,000,000! The king told him, “Pay up!”, but the man couldn’t pay.

The king responded by saying, “Well I guess I’ll just have to sell you and your wife and your children into slavery so I can at least recoup some of my losses!”

At this the man got down on his knees and started to grovel, begging the king, “Please give me more time – I promise I’ll pay you back somehow!”

The king listened to his cries for mercy and actually picked the man up by the hand, pulled him to his feet, and said, “alright, alright, because you have begged for mercy you shall have it.” He then canceled the entire debt – just wrote it off – and allowed the man to go.

As the man was skipping down the road clicking his heels together at his good fortune, he happened to run into a fellow worker who had borrowed about a thousand dollars from him earlier that year. As soon as he saw this man, he went right up to him, grabbed him by the throat and told him “I need my money! Pay up!”

Well, this poor guy wasn’t prepared and said he needed more time to pay off the debt. “Just give me more time!” he pleaded, “and I’ll pay off every penny – I promise!”

Well, the first servant (the one who had been released from his debt by the king) dragged that second servant off to debtors prison and told him “Tell your family you’re staying here until I’m repaid what you owe me!”

Well, there were a few other servants who had seen this entire scene, starting with the King and ending at debtor’s prison. When they saw what this man had done, they went back to the king and reported to him what had happened.

This news didn’t go over very well with the king – he sent men to fetch this man for him. When they found him and brought him before the king, the king told him, “You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt simply because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy upon you?”

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