Forgiveness

  The foundation of any relationship between man and God rests upon the forgiveness of God for the shortcomings of man.
  In Matthew 18:22-35 Jesus gave a story.  This story is given to  describe how God delivers his forgiveness and a normal result.

  Human beings are not naturally forgiving creatures. Pride is the most outstanding trait that separates us from our creator. Pride holds us outside the grace of God.  Pride keeps us from admitting our shortcomings from the will of God. Pride causes us to compare ourselves to others and others to ourselves resulting in an incorrect self image.

  The story has a deeper meaning and interpretation. It depicts how God forgives us completely, then shows the normal human followup. God expects those of us who are forgiven to carry the same down the line. Sadly the natural man will not and cannot be forgiving. This is why we live in such a hard world. People do not naturally forgive others.

  Christians struggle with divisive decisions in their relationships. The only answer is learning how to forgive sinners without approving of their sins.  Why is it, that when we know of our own shortcomings and sins, we are so unforgiving of others and their shortcomings and sins? We act like little siblings who are constantly vying for first place in the home.  Needing to amplify the weaknesses of our brothers or sisters in order to diminish our own inadequacies.

  Do you ever wonder why people go to Hell under the sentence of a forgiving God?  He has provided total forgiveness to anyone who will receive it, but still the majority of the human race will wind up in Hell. Obviously, the holdup is the unwillingness of humans to repent of their sin and to ask for that forgiveness. One way we show that we do not receive God's forgiveness is our unwillingness to forgive others. Remember the parable of the mote and the beam. Jesus knows that one of the biggest barriers to the grace of God is the lack of forgiveness.  No, God is not short with His forgiveness.  We are short of his glory. We do not evidence His forgiveness.

  Peter reveals our real human nature, when he asked the Lord, "how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?" He had a convenient figure in his mind, but the Lord blew that all away. A blonde read an article about two Brazilian workers being killed in a mine accident, then asked her husband, "How many is a brazillion?" Peter was given the answer seventy times seven, to show him and us that we shouldn't bother with trying to count the number of times forgiveness must be proffered.

  There is nothing more hypocritical than a Christian who holds a grudge against a fellow Christian over a silly comparison of personal convictions. The greater offense is usually the gossip that ensues because of a difference of opinion between two Christians.

  One more glimpse at the opening story.  The servant had been totally forgiven of his debt but quicker than the blink of an eye, he had refused to forgive a debtor of his own. The result of that act resulted in severe consequences.  We are pretty sure this story was not just a cute little filler of Bible space. Jesus is trying to tell us something. God's work in us includes the insertion of his Holy Spirit into us. He forgives and if we truly have His Spirit within us, then we will have a forgiving Spirit.  This story is the strongest illustration for those who cannot accept eternal security for the believer, but cannot be related to the doctrine of salvation. The Bible is very clear that salvation is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast. Forgiveness is the intrinsic force of God's enactment of removal of our sin. His forgiveness is the autonomous gift of God.

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