Let's jump right in.
Luk 17:3 (RSV)
1 And he said to his disciples, "Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!
2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.
3 Take heed to yourselves; if your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him;
4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, and says, 'I repent,' you must forgive him.
Take note of the mention of repentance, which means 'to turn away from'. God requires repentance of us, as well. Most of us expect forgiveness without demonstrating any repentance whatsoever. Pride, or the shame we feel when confronted with our failures, is a big obstacle in repentance. We'd rather not face it.
In turn, that makes others around us not want to face it, either. If someone comes to you in repentance, forgive with grace just as God forgives you with grace.
Mat 6:14-15 (RSV)
14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you;
15 but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
There's some interesting tension between these verses.
"Forgive" means to let go of something, to release from debt, or to walk away from. What's on my mind is this:
What if the person who injured you does not demonstrate any repentance, ever? How do we reconcile that?
What happens between the collection agency and the person who owes us is no longer our concern.
To bring this back to the topic of God, consider this:
1) The payment we receive from the collection agency is the peace we feel by turning it over to God to wait for repentance from the debtors.
2) The discount on the debt is the forgiveness God has shown us.
3) If God is content to wait for repentance from debtors, who are we to argue? We were once debtors, as well.
4) If the debtor ultimately repents, it's time to celebrate, and not complain like the older brother in the story of the Prodigal Son. One more soul has been saved. ❤️ The debt of the sin is not collected from the debtor, but rather, is paid by Jesus Christ (the same way he paid for our debts).
Everyone wins. It cost Jesus Christ the most, but he willingly covered all that debt just to be with us.
How beautiful is that?
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