Weather Report From Heaven: Sunny and bright, with an abundance of light and lots of singing and rejoicing.
Bible verse of the day: Matthew 18:21-22 ” 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.”
We live in a very vindictive world, where people want revenge against those they feel have done them wrong. A few years ago, ABC aired a new television show called “Someone Has To Pay.” That pretty much sums up the way we tend to respond to most of the situations in our lives when we feel cheated out of something that should have been ours. It could be that someone else got credit for the effort you put into a work project. It could be a promotion that came to a co-worker when you were clearly more deserving. It could be someone getting ahead because of deceitful actions. It could be a sense of abandonment from a spouse or parent. Whatever the trigger is, there are times in our lives when we feel sheer anger and we want revenge. But the bible teaches the other side of vengeance and anger when dealing with slights. In the bible verse of the day, Jesus is telling Peter that we must forgive those who sin against us an infinite amount of times. I believe the point of this teaching is that because all of our sins have been forgiven in and through Christ, we must also forgive those people who have sinned against us in the same manner.
The issue is really our heart. Do we have a forgiving heart, because we who have been forgiven much should also be able to forgive much. If we don’t forgive others, the lack of forgiveness can cause us much more harm than the sinful act itself. Unresolved anger leads us out of fellowship with the Holy Spirit and into a whole slew of sinful responses. Not only that, but Jesus warns us many times that unresolved anger can fester in our bodies and lead to physical and emotional sickness. We will be distracted and depleted in trying to seek our revenge. In the movie the Love Guru, with Mike Myers, he plays an Eastern Love Guru who uses the comedic line, “an eye for and eye leaves everybody blind.” But there is so much truth in that statement. Jesus spent much of his time teaching about this subject in the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5:38-40 “You have heard it was said Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But I tell you do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.”
Some of Jesus’s most challenging teachings took place in the Sermon on the Mount. He was getting at issues that were inherently flawed in our human nature. Our need for revenge and to get even make us suffer all the more. Instead, our hearts need to be softened and our focus needs to be on him. God will make all things right in the end, it is not for us to worry about, for He is the ultimate scorekeeper. Matthew 7:1-3 warns us against judging others “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” So we really need to let go of our unforgiveness for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is when we put ourselves in the position of judge, jury and executioner, in reality we are calling in friendly fire on our own position. God will judge, we should forgive.
Prayer: Father God, help us become of any unforgiveness we are carrying around in our hearts and give us the strength to release it. We are the victims of our unwillingness to release past offenses. Help us Jesus to be more like You, and less like what are flesh craves. Amen!