The Foundation of Forgiveness

  • October 01, 2018
Monday 01

Matthew 18:21-35

For followers of Christ, the goal is to become increasingly like Him, and one of the best ways to reflect His character is through forgiveness. Yet sometimes this is a quality we are reluctant to demonstrate because it seems so unfair, especially if the wrong done to us is ongoing or particularly painful. To forgive appears to diminish the offense and counteract justice.

Let’s correct several misperceptions about this aspect of our faith:

The foundation for our forgiveness of others is God’s forgiveness of us. Today’s passage contains a parable in which a man is forgiven a sum too exorbitant to repay. Yet he turns around and demands immediate payment from someone who owes him a small amount. That’s what we are like when we think others’ wrongs against us must be avenged even though God has forgiven us.

Unforgiveness torments us, not the wrongdoer. It’s a caustic poison within us that corrupts our emotions, stunts us spiritually, and stresses our bodies. When we don’t release the offender, we end up imprisoned in bitterness, resentment, and hostility—and that is sin.

Forgiveness doesn’t negate the wrong done to us. It doesn’t deny the offense or the resulting pain but lets go of the right to get even. Vengeance is God’s responsibility, not ours (Romans 12:19). We don’t have all the facts, nor can we know the offender’s true motive. Only God can judge accurately and fairly.

When Jesus suffered the ultimate injustice of the cross, He entrusted Himself to the Father (1 Peter 2:21-24). Can you follow His example and trust God with wrongs done to you?

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21 Then Peter came and said to Him, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"

22 Jesus said to him, I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

23 For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.

24 When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.

25 But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made.

26 So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, `Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.'

27 And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.

28 But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, `Pay back what you owe.'

29 So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, `Have patience with me and I will repay you.'

30 But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed.

31 So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened.

32 Then summoning him, his lord said to him, `You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.

33 Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?'

34 And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.

35 My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."

19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord.

21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,

22 WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;

23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;

24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

1 Open your doors, O Lebanon, That a fire may feed on your cedars.

2 Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen, Because the glorious trees have been destroyed; Wail, O oaks of Bashan, For the impenetrable forest has come down.

3 There is a sound of the shepherds' wail, For their glory is ruined; There is a sound of the young lions' roar, For the pride of the Jordan is ruined.

4 Thus says the LORD my God, Pasture the flock doomed to slaughter.

5 Those who buy them slay them and go unpunished, and each of those who sell them says, `Blessed be the LORD, for I have become rich!' And their own shepherds have no pity on them.

6 For I will no longer have pity on the inhabitants of the land," declares the LORD; but behold, I will cause the men to fall, each into another's power and into the power of his king; and they will strike the land, and I will not deliver them from their power."

7 So I pastured the flock doomed to slaughter, hence the afflicted of the flock. And I took for myself two staffs: the one I called Favor and the other I called Union; so I pastured the flock.

8 Then I annihilated the three shepherds in one month, for my soul was impatient with them, and their soul also was weary of me.

9 Then I said, I will not pasture you. What is to die, let it die, and what is to be annihilated, let it be annihilated; and let those who are left eat one another's flesh."

10 I took my staff Favor and cut it in pieces, to break my covenant which I had made with all the peoples.

11 So it was broken on that day, and thus the afflicted of the flock who were watching me realized that it was the word of the LORD.

12 I said to them, If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!" So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages.

13 Then the LORD said to me, Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them." So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD.

14 Then I cut in pieces my second staff Union, to break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.

15 The LORD said to me, Take again for yourself the equipment of a foolish shepherd.

16 For behold, I am going to raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for the perishing, seek the scattered, heal the broken, or sustain the one standing, but will devour the flesh of the fat sheep and tear off their hoofs.

17 Woe to the worthless shepherd Who leaves the flock! A sword will be on his arm And on his right eye! His arm will be totally withered And his right eye will be blind."

1 The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel. Thus declares the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him,

2 Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah.

3 It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.

4 In that day," declares the LORD, I will strike every horse with bewilderment and his rider with madness. But I will watch over the house of Judah, while I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness.

5 Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, `A strong support for us are the inhabitants of Jerusalem through the LORD of hosts, their God.'

6 In that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot among pieces of wood and a flaming torch among sheaves, so they will consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples, while the inhabitants of Jerusalem again dwell on their own sites in Jerusalem.

7 The LORD also will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem will not be magnified above Judah.

8 In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the one who is feeble among them in that day will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the LORD before them.

9 And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

10 I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.

11 In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo.

12 The land will mourn, every family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself and their wives by themselves;

13 the family of the house of Levi by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself and their wives by themselves;

14 all the families that remain, every family by itself and their wives by themselves.

1 In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity.

2 It will come about in that day," declares the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be remembered; and I will also remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the land.

3 And if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who gave birth to him will say to him, `You shall not live, for you have spoken falsely in the name of the LORD'; and his father and mother who gave birth to him will pierce him through when he prophesies.

4 Also it will come about in that day that the prophets will each be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies, and they will not put on a hairy robe in order to deceive;

5 but he will say, `I am not a prophet; I am a tiller of the ground, for a man sold me as a slave in my youth.'

6 And one will say to him, `What are these wounds between your arms?' Then he will say, ` Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.'

7 Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, And against the man, My Associate," Declares the LORD of hosts. Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; And I will turn My hand against the little ones.

8 It will come about in all the land," Declares the LORD, That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it.

9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, `They are My people,' And they will say, `The LORD is my God.'"

1 Behold, a day is coming for the LORD when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you.

2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.

3 Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle.

4 In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.

5 You will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!

6 In that day there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle.

7 For it will be a unique day which is known to the LORD, neither day nor night, but it will come about that at evening time there will be light.

8 And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter.

9 And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.

10 All the land will be changed into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; but Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site from Benjamin's Gate as far as the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king's wine presses.

11 People will live in it, and there will no longer be a curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security.

12 Now this will be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth.

13 It will come about in that day that a great panic from the LORD will fall on them; and they will seize one another's hand, and the hand of one will be lifted against the hand of another.

14 Judah also will fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be gathered, gold and silver and garments in great abundance.

15 So also like this plague will be the plague on the horse, the mule, the camel, the donkey and all the cattle that will be in those camps.

16 Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.

17 And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them.

18 If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.

19 This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.

20 In that day there will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, HOLY TO THE LORD." And the cooking pots in the LORD'S house will be like the bowls before the altar.

21 Every cooking pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to the LORD of hosts; and all who sacrifice will come and take of them and boil in them. And there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts in that day.

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Publish Date May 20, 2019
The Justice of Divine Judgment

God will judge mankind fairly, taking into account each person’s exposure to the gospel.

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