Guest Blog #2...More on forgiveness.
I guess the Lord wants to make sure I get it. I don’t often have dreams--especially dreams I remember in the morning. But last night I did. And even more infrequently does the occasion of a dream lead me to wonder if God sent it or not. I don’t doubt that He can and does but I do doubt my own mind…it has been transformed and renewed but I also abused it a lot in years past (and do so even now…it is an ongoing battle as my mind is assaulted daily even hourly: television, magazines, advertisements, language, coworkers…). Much of what I have and do expose it to still pops up to wrest me away from my Savior. I now know why God exhorts us: “Brethren…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence, and if anything is worthy of praise…dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8) He does not want us filling our minds with garbage…it distracts, discourages, and pulls us away from Him.
Nevertheless, the content of my dream aside, I was led to ponder more on the idea of forgiveness when I woke from that dream--the consideration of Biblical principles always fits the criteria of Phil 4:8...I love how the Lord draws us into His Word! So…forgiveness…
Matthew 18:21 “Then Peter came and said to Him (Jesus), ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive Him? Up to seven times?’”
I can’t wait to ask Peter, when I get to heaven, exactly what it was that led him to ask this question of Jesus. I would bet that there was some stuff going on amongst the men who followed Jesus. And I know there is stuff going on with me and you every day that challenges us to forgive: little wrongs, slights, pet-peeves, outright slander, underhandedness, gossip, hate, discontent. Some of it is at school or work; some is at home; some is in our extended and/or distant families; some is on-line; some is at church; some is with our loved ones; some is with strangers; some is with our friends; some is with our government. It is another ongoing all-pervasive battle we face.
Matthew 18:22 “Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you up to seven times but up to seventy times seven.’”
Basically, we just have to keep forgiving. There is no end to it. And to make sure we get it, Jesus immediately told the story of a man who owed the boss $16 million and was completely forgiven that debt. The forgiven man then responded: he turned around and viciously tried to collect $3000 from one of his debtors. Who did he think he was!?! …and who do we think we are when we don’t immediately forgive each other…we ourselves have been forgiven that massive $16 million debt. “He (God) has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His loving-kindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm103:10-12) Jesus wants us to do the same in our dealings with each other…so remember, when the affronts start coming at you…just start flinging them to the east and west…forgive. I now know that I have to stop coming up with all the reasons to not forgive. There are no caveats, stipulations…there is no small print. Help us Lord…help us love.