Matthew 18:15-20

During the season of Lent our devotions have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church.  Today’s writer is Michael Farner.

“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:15-20

From my experience, forgiveness is the aspect of Jesus’ ministry that we humans have the most trouble following. It is part of our human nature; when someone wrongs us, we want to get them back, and make them feel how they made us feel.

There is a romanticized sense of righteousness about revenge, the feeling of a debt repaid, and a wrong made right.

We love stories about someone enacting revenge on a cheating spouse or the boss who wrongly fired them. Sports hypes up the revenge game, when a star athlete travels back to play the team that cut them.

We lift up revenge as a shining example of justice, and the people who forgive and turn the other cheek are often ignored or seen as weak or foolish. Yet, these are precisely the people Jesus wants us to be.

Jesus never asked for a revenge game or a chance to settle the score as he hung dying on the cross. Rather, he cried “father forgive them, they know not what they do.” Forgive them. It’s a thought that doesn’t come naturally, and something we would rather not follow or even think about. Yet, it is what Jesus calls us to do.

Forgiveness is righteous, and it takes far more strength to let go, than to get even. Your boss fired you? Pray for him and his company on the way out. You found your partner cheating on you? Pray that they find happiness and that this new person fulfills them.

It is ok to be hurt when someone wrongs you, but the only way you heal is if you let go. That takes forgiveness, which is why Jesus calls us to forgive, not just seven times, but as many as 70 times 7.

Let us pray: Dear God, Please help us learn to forgive, even when society tells us the best thing to do is get even. Grant us patience and understanding, and help us act out of love and kindness rather than hate and anger. Grant us peace, and give us more forgiveness then we think we need. In your name we pray, Amen.


One Response to “Matthew 18:15-20”

  1. Carolee Says:

    There is a saying “to err is human, to forgive is divine”. I’m not sure who to credit those words of wisdom to, but I am sure of the wisdom the Bible foretold in these words from: Ephesians 4:32
    “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

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