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Summary: We must forgive as we are forgiven. The same measure we use will be used to judge us.

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Last week I talked about how we need to meet people where they are at and accept them as they are and love them as Christ loves them. And some might here this to say that we are to love all the down and outs in our society, but the opposite is true as well. If we are one of the people who are looked down upon we must love those who are looking down on us just as they are supposed to love us.

This week I want to continue along the same lines, but I want to take it just a little further. If we are to accept people as they are and love them as they are then we need to forgive them as they are.

Matthew 18:21-35

Our own forgiveness becomes our priority

It is interesting to note the math that Jesus uses in this parable, for most of us denarii and talents have no meaning and so this parable looses some of its meaning. We tend to think of talents and denarii as we do our own denominations

1 talent=6000 denarii=1 denarii a soldier’s daily wage

10,000 talents=60,000,000 denarii

$5.25=$42 per day x 60,000,000=$2,520,000,000

100 denarii=$4200

The first slave had just been forgiven a debt that equaled a line item in our governments yearly budget. The biggest Powerball jackpot ever, was only a 10th of what he owed the King. In other words this man had been forgiven a debt that he could have never paid off. I can only imagine the happiness that this man felt as he left the King’s court. Imagine the amount of pressure that had just been taken off his back. He had just been forgiven an insurmountable debt, and for once he could see light at the end of the tunnel.

but,

as he was leaving the palace the slave refused to take that same forgiveness and give it to others.

His selfishness kept him from granting even a meager portion of the forgiveness that he had just been given.

I wonder how it is with us. We each who claim Jesus Christ as our Lord have been forgiven a debt that we could have never repaid. Yet I wonder if we refuse to forgive others who are around us. I wonder if we spend so much time worrying about our own piety that we completely forget that we too have caused hurt, we too have called people names, we too need forgiveness from others just as we need to forgive others.

One of the most shocking things about this parable is the last part.

33 Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. 35 So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

We don’t like the thought that God would remove His forgiveness from us. After all, how could God take back his forgiveness its mine, I accept Christ, I come to church, I sing the songs, I put up with all these people, daggonit I deserve to be forgiven.

So what does it look like? How much would our attitudes have to change if we were to forgive all those around us?

Forgiving those who have hurt us.

Forgiving those who have taken advantage of us.

Forgiving those who have cause us pain.

Forgiving those who don’t like us.

Forgiving before an apology is ever given.

But, Jeremy! It can’t be like that! You don’t know what they’ve done! You don’t know who they are! They have hurt me! It’s just not right! I know, its not right.

“Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing” On the cross in the midst of His pain Jesus offered forgiveness for those who never even asked for it.

What does a real forgiveness look like? Probably quite different than we can understand.

There was a young man in ministry who had been hurt very badly by people who called themselves Christians. There were lies told about him, there was hate mail sent to him, there was manipulation, there was many hurtful things said and done to this young man, and eventually his position was eliminated. It took this man over a year to finally receive healing from the wounds of this ordeal.

And, do you know how that healing came? It wasn’t that any of those who hurt him approached him in any way, they never apologized, they never sought forgiveness. Healing came only when he got down on his knees and gave the same forgiveness that he had been given from God. Healing came when God showed me that my hatred for them was pulling me away from Christ. He only found deliverance from the hate when he was able to forgive.

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