Highlighted New Testament Bible

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

St Matthew, Chapter 18, verse: 22, How often to forgive? How often to love?

Our paragraph topic is:  (Peter asks how often to forgive) Part2.   

Christ was teaching his disciples about winning back the souls of their brothers and sisters.  He told them to meet with thy brother/sister face to face to help them understand their transgressions.  Help them overcome with love and not with anger, or hurt or pain.  For these emotions will cause them to strike out, to exact revenge, to cause pain and hurt as they, thy brothers/sisters, did to them.  Should they not be hurt!  Should they not feel the pain?  Should they not be angry, or vengeful?  These are the questions that the disciples were thinking about when instructed by Christ to win back their brothers/sisters.

Then Peter spoke out, asking the question, how often should we forgive.  How often should we accept their transgressions?  How often should they, the disciples, allow their brothers/sisters to betray them, to bear false witness against them, to lie against them, to cheat, to steal and then to seek forgiveness?  Is seven times enough before they should stop forgiving?  Is seven times enough before they should turn their backs on their brothers/sisters?  Is seven times enough before they should cast them out and never allow repentance again?  Christ answered Peter's question and told them what they should do.  Jesus said to him, "I donot say to thee seven times , but seventy times seven.

Peter was a simple man, a fisherman.  Everything for him was black and white.  He felt strongly and deeply.  Yet he was a sensible man.  He wanted to know practical things, things that he could apply, things that he could grasp, things that he could know.  He knew forgiveness.  He knew how to accept that some people make mistakes.  He knew that we are all human, not perfect, so we would err.  Yet he wanted to know how long should we accept the errors of others.  How long should we allow sin to be committed against us and still forgive?  He wanted to know if there is an end to the ability to forgive.

At what point do we stop forgiving and start to hate?  At what point do we stop forgiving and start to take revenge?  At what point do we stop forgiving and ourselves turn to the sin that we seek to forgive.  For this is the pit that we open ourselves to fall into if we place a limit on that which is given to us from our Father Christ told them, his disciples, as he tells us today, that there is no limit on forgiveness.  He told them that there is no limit on the love that we should have for our brothers/sisters who sin against us. 

We have a merciful Father, a God who is love, a provider, a protector, a creator.  It is he who is all forgiving, all loving, all merciful and all just.  And it is through his love that we become love.  It is through his forgiveness that we are forgiven.  It is through his mercy that we become forgiving of others, our brothers/sister.  For if they truly knew who they are, if they truly knew where they come from, if they truly knew that their actions are not the actions of children of a loving God, they would not commit sin.  Sin comes to influence.  Sin comes to take over.  Sin comes to commit sin.  Sin comes to recruit others to sin. 

But Christ came that we would know who we are without sin.  Christ came that we would have life anew.  Christ came that the light of life would shine within us.  And Christ left that we may have the light of the Holy Spirit reside within us, to guide us through the influences of sin.  How often should we forgive?  He told us seventy times seven.  He told us they do not know what they do.  He told us to forgive without limits.  He told us to forgive with love.  He told us to forgive that they may see the goodness and the light that is within and know that their Father in heaven loves them.  For through you and with him and in him we are the light of the world.  So come!  Let your light shine for those who cannot see.  Let your light shine for those who know not.  Let your light shine for those who have not.  And you too will know the truth of who you are in Christ.

Read the sign of the times! Read the Highlighted New Testament Bible and lift the scales from your eyes that you may see, that you may know, that you may find the truth of who you are in Christ. Read it as though you would read a good book, from cover to cover, and see for yourself. Do not study it in parts reading one passage and then skipping to another, but read it for understanding. Read it for knowledge. Read it for faith. Read it that your eyes may be opened, that your ears may hear, that your heart may be filled with the light of Christ. The Holy Spirit awaits you. Christ seeks to know you. Open the door and let him in.