My daily exploration of the Bible, taking it one chapter at a time. If I do it everyday, it'll take 1189 days.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Matthew 18

Forgiveness is good

The disciples wanted to know what made you great in God's eyes, and Jesus said it was to become like children. Don't cause them to sin. Sin is very bad. It's better to maim your body to avoid sin than to have your soul maimed forever.

God's more interested in a one who is lost than the hundreds who are OK.

If your Christian friend has wronged you, then talk to him about it privately, if he doesn't listen, then take a couple of people next time. If he still doesn't listen, tell him in front of your community, and if he doesn't listen then, then you can pretend he's not Christian. God will listen to your community.

You have to forgive always. God is like a judge who shows cancels your massive debts, but if you then won't forgive others their comparatively smaller debts, then God will reinstate your debt.

Key verses:
21-22. Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

My thoughts:
This message about forgiving always notably comes after the main passage used to justify excommunication. Occasionally the New Testament has some phrases which appear to be quite harsh about kicking people out of church, but they are always in the context that if someone repents then they can always come back.

Just always forgive. But realise the graveness of sin. If maiming your body would truly somehow stop you sinning, then it's worth.


Anonymous Deane said...

Pete wrote
Forgiveness is good.

True. We must learn to forgive God.

Before we can ask forgiveness of God, we must first forgive God, who should know better, for all the hurts we have suffered in this life--we must first forgive Him and keep loving Him--with all our hearts and souls--even when what He does drives us crazy.
--Dov Taylor, Rabbi, Congregation Solel, Highland Park, Illinois, Founder and Director of the International Torah Corps, 1965-84, Visiting Scholar at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies in 1992, Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellow at Harvard in 1999.

"This piece of infinity, as we live it now, I can carry it all on my shoulders without being crushed by the weight and I can now forgive God that the situation is no doubt the one that it should be. That one can have so much love as to be able to forgive God!"
- Etty Hillesum, Westerbork Concentration Camp (July 1942, died Auschwitz 30 Nov 1943)

"If we stand on trial today, why isn't God on trial for all that is wrong in our world? The answer is that we need to forgive God, just as God prays that God needs to forgive us."
- Rabbi Shelton J. Donnell, Yom Kippur 5763

"If we do not forgive God will withhold forgiveness from us - it will be measured out accordingly (See Matthew 6:15)."
- George Davis, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is..."

"When asked to forgive others we are, in a certain sense, being asked to forgive God himself. . . ."
--Cardinal O'Connor, St. Patrick's Cathedral
(28 Feb 1999)

'Forgiveness' is primarily an internal concept. It involves repenting of any grudges one has. As such, 'forgive' applies as much to God as to your neighbor. It is only the secondary meaning of forgive that includes forgiveness of someone's offense or sin.

"Forgiveness then becomes a process of letting go of whatever we thought others have done to us, or whatever we may think we have done to others."
- John Kessel, "Hearts Do Not in Eyes Shine" Asimov's SF Magazine (Oct 1983)

Forgiveness is internal, subjective, a change of 'attitude.'

"Now I turn to the phrase 'forgiving God'. We know that we, especially the Jews, often make God appear before a court. After the Shoah [holocaust], there were scenarios in which some Jewish communities called upon God to appear and to respond, to account for his misdeeds. But even without these theatrical and sometimes unbelievable scenarios, we are constantly trying to judge God. Even if we forgive him, even if
we think finally that we cannot judge God, nevertheless the movement to evaluate God ethically, trying to understand the will and the strategies and designs of God, is a way of judging him. Finally, the believers are those who think that they do not have the right to judge, that 'a priori' they forgive God for whatever God does. I am not sure that all the believers do that constantly. The people who have faith in God - since faith is not certainty and since faith is a risk - are also the people who are constantly tempted not to forgive God, tempted to accuse or to denounce God. That is part of the risk of faith. I am sure that we are constantly struggling with the temptation to judge God, constantly."
- Jacques Derrida

1:29 pm

Blogger Pete W said...

Sometimes from our arrogant "We understand everything" stance, God certainly can seem unjust. We must be able to have faith that God is good before we come to him as our good God, yes.

10:07 pm


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