Then Peter came and said to him [Jesus], “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22)
Since we all stand before the judgment of God, why do we judge one another? The Apostle Paul raised this question in his letter to the Romans, given that all Christians belong to the Lord Jesus Christ who died for all of us and will judge each of us. Yet we do sin against one another, and Jesus’ challenge that we forgive seventy-seven times reveals God’s boundless mercy. When we hear the words of forgiveness in worship and sign ourselves with the cross, we are renewed in baptism to be signs of reconciliation in the world.
Do you really forgive?
The Hymn of the Day at traditional services this week is “Forgive Our Sins as We Forgive” (ELW 605). It’s tempting to hold a grudge when someone has wronged us. The third verse of today’s hymn makes the path to blessing the unforgiving heart plain: our debt to Jesus for his death on the cross far outweighs any debts we have toward one another.
In the New Day Praise service we will hear “Forgiveness” by Matthew West during Communion. The lyrics speak to how we learn from Jesus. “Show me how to see what your mercy sees, help me now to give what You gave to me, forgiveness, forgiveness.”
Home Devotional Questions
- Do you praise God for his mercy and yet refuse mercy to your neighbor in the next breath?
- Are you on a path of forgiveness or on a path of a hardening heart?
- In the light of God’s forgiveness of our sins through his only son, Jesus Christ, do you have a deeper understanding of the need to forgive and to be forgiven?