Good Sunday morning friends. When I get to this sacred time I feel like all the headaches and frustrations of the past 6 days are somewhat relieved. Some things do not go away just because it is Sunday, especially personal conflicts but somehow assembling with our church family helps to make things more bearable. Maybe it is because we are reminded of the forgiveness that Jesus Christ has graced us with. Let’s talk about that… forgiveness.
Dr. Luke relates to us in chapter 17 verses 1 through 4 Jesus’ words on the scope that our forgiveness should encompass. There is a companion account in Matthew’s gospel chapter 18. Jesus gets very real right from the start. To ‘get sideways’ with other humans on planet earth at some point in our life span is unavoidable. It happens with elementary school kids on the playground, with brothers and sisters, parents and kids, church members, preachers, politicians, singers, Black Friday shoppers, athletes, SEC football fans (i.e. Iron Bowl). It happens. Sadly, sometimes it extends itself for months, years, lifetimes. But, it does not have to be that way.
I think the words we need to heed most are found in verse 3, “Take heed to yourselves“. The absolute easiest thing to do is point a finger at the other person firmly shifting the blame away from our squeaky clean self. My good friend of 22 years, Joel Key, has a saying (actually he has many). He says, “There are 3 versions of every story; Your version, My version, and the Truth”.
Our text commands that if someone comes repenting to forgive them. I am not going outside the bounds of scripture in saying that if the other person never comes asking, forgive them anyway. Oh, but brother Adam, you just don’t know what they said, what they did! Correct. But, remember, Jesus Christ forgave every single offensive sin, every sinful word, every sinful thought, you and I would ever commit on Calvary’s cross before we ever saw the light of day. He did that for the sins of the whole world whether they would love Him or not (I John 2:2). Every day I come to him to repent of the sins that offend his holiness, He faithfully and justly forgives every single time (I John 1:9). It is good to pay off a debt but it is greater to have a debt forgiven that seemed impossible to repay. Forgiveness frees not only the offender but the offended. Besides, it is a command. Just forgive.
Lord, we ask that you help us to forgive as you have forgiven us.