Summary: In a day where we are riddled with division and a "cancel culture" where does forgiveness fit in and how does forgiveness in the church differ from what the world offers?
Grace Community Church
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What image comes to mind when you think of the word “Bounty Hunter.” Maybe we think of a scene from Star Wars as Darth Vader is enlisting their help to fuel his obsession with finding Luke Skywalker. The imperial admiral leans down to one of his lieutenants and quietly says, “Bounty Hunters? We don’t need their scum...” Even evil imperial officers have their standards.
Maybe you think more about someone like Clint Eastwood - a loner in the movie Raising Arizona. Leather chaps, a motorcycle, unkept hair. Someone with relentless focus to capture the person they are after (for whatever reason).
You may have been pursued by a bounty hunter at least once in your life. Not the Boba-Fett kind with guns, but the one with a relentless telephone to collect the money for a past-due payment. They are vicious. They enjoy making people squirm as they literally attempt to get the blood out fo the turnip. Can you imagine doing a job like that? Maybe you can… maybe all of us can, especially in this ‘cancel culture day.’
We are living in a day that is rapidly accelerating from biblical values and the ideals Jesus built His church upon. And I submit to you that there are demonic attempts to try to match the church with the days we are living. Really, the church needs to rise above these days and so-called movements. In Wilson, NC a 5-year-old boy is intentionally shot in the head while playing with his sisters by a neighbor. In protests scenes, men and women are beaten savagely by “protesters.” Our politicians are openly defending heinous behaviors, abortions, and division. The rhetoric is absolutely grievous; rooted in lies, fallacies, and open deceptions. I heard a leader in Black Lives Matter justify the looting from stores as a means of reprobation.
We want to be paid for someone’s mistakes. The dinner that the restaurant didn’t make just right. Even in the church, many spend time demanding payment. The pastor said something we didn’t like or the wrong song played. Does someone owe you an apology? A second chance? An explanation? A thank you? If you were to stop and think about it, you could make some people aware of a debt they owe you and you could amass some good reasons why it’s owed.
We’ve lost the meaning, purpose, and origin of forgiveness in the church. We’ve lost it because we’re trying to use worldly standards of a godly principle. We’re like Peter asking Jesus today. “How many times should I forgive my brother… 7 times.” He’s proud of the number he’s willing to reach. But like Peter, we need to be reminded of Jesus’ standard -God’s standard- and resolve that in our heart and soul. Why? Because it’s the standard that God applies to you. True love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs!
English Standard Version Chapter 18
21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”