Faith Daily | 12 August 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - PENTECOST APBA p570
Grant to us, Lord, we beseech you,
the spirit to think and do always such things as are right,
that we, who cannot do anything that is good without you,
may by you be enabled to live according to your will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 18: 21 – 19:1
21 Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ 22Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times
23 ‘For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents* was brought to him; 25and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” 27And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow-slaves who owed him a hundred denarii;* and seizing him by the throat, he said, “Pay what you owe.” 29Then his fellow-slave fell down and pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.” 30But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he should pay the debt. 31When his fellow-slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32Then his lord summoned him and said to him, “You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33Should you not have had mercy on your fellow-slave, as I had mercy on you?” 34And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he should pay his entire debt. 35So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister* from your heart.’
19 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Rev'd David
Everyone, I suspect, is in favour of forgiveness. But is C S Lewis correct when he writes: “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until there is something to forgive.”
The passage before us today begins with Peter’s question to Jesus about how serious the practice of forgiveness should be. It seems Peter thought he was generous suggesting that he forgive seven times. And there was a good reason for that, the Rabbis taught that you only had to forgive someone three times at the most. But Jesus’ answer is that there is to be no end to offering forgiveness (verse 22).
I think there is a deeper meaning beneath that. In the parable Jesus told, the message for Peter and for us is to discover why we should forgive, and when that takes hold of our lives, unlimited forgiveness will be natural. In the parable there is a man with a huge debt he can never repay. The debtor pleads for an extension of time to pay. We are not told, but he should have been speechless when he heard that his debt was forgiven, and he and his family were released. This act of forgiveness was to point Peter and us to God’s forgiveness, totally undeserved and of incalculable value.
The Bible speaks many times of this wonderful truth of the forgiveness we receive when we turn to the cross of Jesus and ask Him to be our Saviour and Lord. It is made so meaningful by the word pictures used. Two that have been such a blessing to me are: “I will never again remember their sins…” (Hebrews 10:17 NLT) and “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12 NLT). So with the gift of that forgiveness in our hearts, we should be compelled to offer forgiveness to others without limitation.
St Paul said that this forgiveness is to be part of the new life we live as God’s people: “….forgive anyone who offends you. Remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13 NLT).In the parable Jesus goes on to describe the response of that forgiven man. He refused to offer forgiveness to someone who owed him much less than his forgiven debt. We cannot miss the point here. In verse 35 Jesus makes it a command. We are so blessed by God’s forgiveness, it is to be a natural response to offer genuine unlimited forgiveness to others.
Martin Luther King put it well when he said “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”
FINAL PRAYER: P. 582
God of mercy, help us to forgive as you have forgiven us, to trust you even when hope is failing, and to take up our cross daily and follow you in your redeeming work; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen