Saturday, November 28, 2009

“If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.” (Luke 17.3)

New Testament Challenge, Day 14 – Luke 17-21
I’m going to get off my high-horse about the after Thanksgiving shopping, although much can be said from today’s challenge chapters. Instead, I’m going to write about forgiveness because I believe with Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas approaching, it would do us some good to do some forgiving. The passage above from Luke is quite clear that we should forgive. Christ is challenged in other places in scripture for an answer of how many times to forgive and He states, “not seven times, but seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18.22 – NT Challenge Day 3) Often, though, the issue of earnestness in the one seeking forgiveness is questioned especially when we have forgiven up to sixty-nine times seven and we “only” have seven times left. (A bit of humor goes a far distance when dealing with forgiveness.)

But in today’s reading we see an answer even to the issue of earnestness. “And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, “I repent,” you shall forgive him.” (Luke 17.4) The implication of this passage cannot be avoided. So long as someone asks to be forgiven we are obligated to forgive. The earnestness of the “sinner” is for God to address. Our refusal to forgive others is only a self-condemnation as we recite the Lord’s Prayer… “and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” We can only be forgiven if we forgive and I’m not about to take the chance that my sins will not be forgiven when I am faced with an account of my life in front of the Judgment Seat of Christ.

If reading this blog has become a regular part of your day or if this is the first time here, I welcome you. You will see very quickly that I believe we each have a responsibility to put our faith into action and live as if we truly love the Lord. Forgiveness is but a part of this reality.

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