#8 ~ The Kingdom is a Place of Forgiveness

I asked the class what they thought of the following quotes.  Do you agree or disagree with them.  The majority of the class readily agreed with all of them.  Read to the end to see why this may not be a good thing.

Quotes:
-How to forgive 101:  Every morning when you wake up say this, “Lord I forgive _______, because I want to. Not because they deserve it but because I don’t deserve to carry around this burden for them. Thank you for forgiving me and helping me to let go of my unforgiveness. Please do your work on their heart. In Jesus name, amen.”

-It took me a long time to understand what it means to forgive someone.  I always wondered how I could forgive someone who chose to hurt me?  But after a lot of soul searching, I realized that forgiveness isn’t about accepting or excusing their behavior… it’s about letting it go and preventing their behavior from destroying my heart.

-The hardest thing in life is to forgive. But hate is self-destructive. If you hate somebody you’re not hurting the person you hate, you’re hurting yourself. Forgiveness is healing.

-Unforgiveness is like having weeds in the garden of our soul. Weeds grow and reproduce until an entire garden is destroyed. If you want a garden of love, joy, and peace in your heart, you must get rid of all the weeds.

Matthew 18:15-35 ~ The passage we are studying is in the same context as the passage we studied last week.  The one sheep goes astray, and the Son of Man is concerned about seeking and saving that which was lost.  People must repent and become like little children in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Matthew 18:15-20 ~ If your brother sins against you.  This passage is about reconciliation.  Compare verse 15 with Matthew 5:23-24.  What do these two passages have in common?  What are some of the differences?

Note:  In the class we spent quite a bit of time examining the differences between these two passages.  If you want to study Biblical forgiveness and reconciliation, I suggest you do this.  Very insightful.

If your brother has something against you, or if your brother has sinned against you, either way, seek reconciliation.  It doesn’t matter whose fault it is, seek reconciliation.  The follower of Jesus Christ will always look to make a relationship right, even before they come to worship God.  The passage then details how to handle a situation where someone who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ does not want reconciliation.  The second step is to take additional witnesses because of Deuteronomy 17:6 and 19:15.  The authority that Israel had to put people to death has now been transferred to the church.  But the consequences are to either forgive sins or withhold the forgiveness of sins by considering that person to be outside of the church.  The statement is quite stark:  If they do not want reconciliation, then they are not a part of the church.  I Corinthians 5 documents how Paul expected the Corinthians to put this teaching of Jesus into practice.  II Corinthians 2:5-11 shows how the recipient of this discipline was welcomed back into the church after he repented.  In II Corinthians 13:1-3, Paul invokes this language of “two or three witnesses” to demonstrate the seriousness of his third visit.  What if there is an issue between two people and one person claims, “But I don’t have a problem, it’s the other person who has the problem?”

Note:  This question is a live wire because I have heard Christians say this.

Matthew 18:21-22 ~ How many times?  Peter asks a generous question.  How many times do we have to forgive?  What about the person who is just sinning over and over again?  They say they are sorry, but they do it again.  What do we think about people like this?  Jesus said something very similar in Luke 17:3-5.  In this passage it states that if he repents seven times each day you must keep forgiving him.  Immediately after this the apostles asked the Lord to increase their faith.

Matthew 18:23-35 ~ The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant or the Parable of the King Who Forgives.  Let’s look at the amount of money being discussed here.  Most commentaries will say that a talent is a year’s wage or more.  To say that someone owed 10,000 talents was essentially a debt that would take at least 10,000 years to pay off by working from dusk until dawn every single day.  In essence, this debt could never be paid back in a lifetime.  When the servant asked for mercy stating that he would pay everything back, the King knew that there was no way this servant could pay it back.  But the King had mercy because He is merciful, not because He wanted His money back.  The merciful King wipes away the entire debt.

Yet there was another debt.  The servant that had just been forgiven had someone who owed him.  This amount is 100 denarii.  A denarius was a day’s wage.  This debt could be paid back by working for 100 days, a reasonable commitment.  While 100 denarii is a substantial amount, maybe $10,000-$20,000, because we have the backstory of the Merciful King, it pales in comparison.  What if we started the story in Matthew 18:28-30?  What if all we saw were two people on the street and one of them owed this significant amount of money to someone else and they had been patient over a period of five years?  He finally had enough.  I’ve been patient with you, and I have every right to have you thrown in jail.  Enough is enough!  This would have been a common sight in those days, and even today we see this same occurrence in our court systems.  If we started the story there, the servant would seem completely justified in his actions.

For the follower of Jesus Christ, the story does not start there, but starts with the Merciful King.  God has forgiven a mountain of debt that we could never repay.  The consequences of our lies, gossip, evil thoughts, etc. could never be undone by 10,000 lifetimes.  We could never pay back God for His forgiveness.  He forgives because He is merciful.  Yet we walk down the street (figuratively speaking) and tell someone else, “You owe me.  You owe me an apology.  You owe me an explanation.  You owe me money.  You hurt my feelings.  You took advantage of me.” 

Compare Matthew 18:35 with Matthew 6:9-15.  Look specifically at Matthew 6:14-15.  What do these two passages have in common?  What are the differences in these two passages?  What about the person who says, “They don’t deserve forgiveness because they haven’t repented yet.”?  Or “That person is not a Christian and there is no way they will ever repent so I’m not going to bother.”?  Read Luke 23:33-34.

Luke 7:36-50 ~ The Parable of the Creditor.  Our failure to recognize the amount of debt we have incurred with God will result in very little love for our Lord.  When we understand the full extent of our sin, then we understand how great God’s love is for us, then we should have a great love for Him.  This love for Him is demonstrated by forgiving others.  If we fail to forgive others, we exclude ourselves from the Kingdom of Heaven.

Note:  We closed this time by asking the question of ourselves: How often do we sin against God?  How often do we want God to be merciful to us?  Now apply that to how merciful we are to others.  We constantly sin against our heavenly Father.  We want that constant mercy and forgiveness.  But how often we withhold it from others!

The quotes above fail to recognize the mountain of debt against God.  The focus of these quotes is about ourselves.  The quotes imply that we forgive because it’s best for us.  When we say, “They don’t deserve my forgiveness,” it’s implied that we do deserve God’s forgiveness.  If we have received a forgiveness that we do not deserve, we are commanded to offer a forgiveness that they do not deserve, not because it’s best for us, but because we have already received forgiveness from a Merciful God.

The Kingdom of Heaven is a place of forgiveness.  We live in a present reality of forgiveness because we know this place is a reality.  We know that one day those who forgive will gain entrance to this amazing place.  We can’t see it with our eyes, but we forgive by faith.  The church should be this place of forgiveness where we do not hold grudges against each other.  It should be a sweet place.

This statement that the Kingdom of Heaven being a place of forgiveness is a little bit misleading.  The Kingdom of Heaven is Forgiveness Itself.  I put the word “place” in there to help us make earthly sense of it.  But really, the Kingdom of Heaven IS forgiveness.  Wherever, whenever we forgive, the Kingdom is present.  This is why it is important to see the Kingdom of Heaven present in the ministry of Jesus Christ.  He had power to forgive people of their sins, and this is before He went to the cross, see Matthew 9:2.  In Matthew 9:2, the Kingdom of Heaven was present as He not only healed, but forgave.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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4 Responses to #8 ~ The Kingdom is a Place of Forgiveness

  1. Yves Peloquin says:

    Each of your article is a candle in my night. God bless you.
    Yves P.

  2. This is misquoted; People must repent and become like little children in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
    Yashua said unless you are born of water and Spirit you will in no way enter the Kingdom and that it was to such as these it belongs referencing little children.
    As for forgiveness it like most all other aspects of Christianity is upside down.
    The problem is that most see Christianity as an improved behavior of the same old Adamic man/person.
    So after becoming convinced of Christ as savor they join a church, an that will be on either the grace hyper grace view / path or it will be a justified works model, best exemplified by the Lordship salvation movement. In both cases they fail to consider the new birth what it is what changes it brings about most importantly how one becomes reborn. Naturally that’s faith but as faith is generally seen as belief with some modification and they are always sure they believe they take for granted they have been reborn.
    So, they should start acting like it; Paul did write considering these things what manner or people should we be? First, we are forgiven so we must in kind forgive, and we are commanded to do as much.

    What happens when you command a fish to swim? Conversely what if rather than a fish it was a bee? Yashua was born with a nature unlike any other man before Him. By that nature is would have been unnatural for Him to not forgive, and as Christians have been reborn the same is true of us. Christ needed no reason to forgive other than that was/is who He is. Is the same true of us? Are we become a fish or a bee pretending to swim?

    Faith is a gift we receive at an encounter with the Father and it is by faith we become partakers of Grace. Sure, one of the notable effects of faith is an unshakable certainty in Yashua, all with faith do believe, but not all the believe have faith.

    If you do believe repent and seek God until He is found. If you are reborn, a child then you will know your Fathers voice and have no need of teachers or false gospels. Though we are called as light and salt. We are called to be a witness to the nations.
    So as for forgiveness there is no reason to forgive and none should be required. If so then it is not on your heart to do so and in doing so you will gain nothing. That is human wisdom, but if seeing forgiveness, seeing love, seeing truth, justice, is appealing to you if that is the world you want to live in, but it is not a natural state for you then repent. Understand you are hopelessly bound by sin and need to be rescued. Call out to God and keep doing so until He answers you. Expect Him to answer He promised He would. If you don’t actually believe that how can you say you believe in your heart God raised Yashua? When He answers test that Spirit by the light of scripture. Many Mormons claim to have had an encounter, and I trust they have; but not with the Holy Spirit. Who if so would have testified to Christ not as the spirit brother to Lucifer, but as the Lord of Glory, the Creator of all that is seen and unseen.
    Thank you Orange mailman for the platform to express my views.

    • The parables I was studying explain the importance of disciples of Christ to forgive others. Certainly there are many other truths in scripture that bring someone to the place where they are a disciple of Christ, such as being born again. That was not the focus of this study, because that is not the focus of those parables. We also must be crucified with Christ before we can be raised to new life. There is no re-forming our sinfulness into something good. It must go to the cross. We must forfeit our live, hate our own lives, take up our cross (death sentence) and follow Jesus Christ. Paraphrasing Galatians 2:21, if someone could just be good enough for God, then why was Jesus hanging on that cross?

      Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

      -The Orange Mailman

      P.S. Once someone is forgiven the mountain of debt against them because they have been crucified with Christ and raised with Christ, they will no longer hold grudges and will freely forgive others. That was the main point of the post.

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