26th April 2011

Forgiveness Is True Love

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’”
Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV)

I am sure we all struggle with forgiveness. I did until I read through the passage in Matthew 18:21-35. Peter had come to Jesus with a question about how many times he should forgive his brother, when he sins against him? Peter suggested seven times (verse 21). But Jesus answered with—not just seven times, but seventy times seven (verse. 22)! And then he gave the parable about the unforgiving servant, who, after having his huge debt forgiven, turned and demanded a small debt from another person, and even had him thrown into prison because he couldn’t pay (verses 23-35). Jesus gave this parable to illustrate that we should forgive others because He has forgiven us!

We have just celebrated the anniversary of that forgiveness—Christ’s sacrifice on the cross to remove and forgive all our sins from the very smallest to the most horrific, when we turn to him and accept that sacrifice. Whenever we take the cup of communion we remember this great act of forgiveness as we read in Matthew 26:27-28, “Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’”

So when we struggle with forgiveness, read the scriptures. Forgiveness is to show love to the other person. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7). Forgiveness is a form of mercy and grace borne out of love. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Prayer
Compassionate, loving and forgiving Father in Heaven, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your mercy and grace, forgiving us all our many sins. Help us to follow your example and extend this same compassion and forgiveness to others who may sin against us.
Amen

Study by Joan Esom 

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