Reflection on Matthew 18:21-35


“That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”

Peter asks Jesus how many times he is required to forgive someone who sins against him. He suggests seven times, but Jesus says “Not seven times but seventy times seven.”
Jesus then tells a parable about a man who is forgiven a huge debt by a king. The debt is so big that nobody could ever expect to pay it off, but the king forgives him. The man finds another servant who owes him a few thousand dollars and refuses to show the same grace that he has received. The result is that the king rescinds his previous decision and has the man thrown into prison.

Forgiveness is at the heart of the gospel. Firstly God forgives us of our entire catalogue of sin. Then he expects us to live out the same grace in our daily lives.
To harbour resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness is to show that we have not allowed the grace of God to deeply penetrate our hearts.
Forgiving other people is hard work. It goes against our human nature to do this. Most of us want to keep a record of wrongs to justify ourselves. The deeper the hurt we have suffered the longer it will take to move to the place of letting go.
God’s commandment is that we must love our enemies, and His kind of love keeps no record of wrongs.

Father please help me to respond to your forgiving grace by forgiving those who sin against me. Rescue me from all forms of bitterness. Amen.


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