by Nadine Schleicher
I have to admit I was a little nervous but very excited when I agreed to do this blog, I have never done something like this before and I can’t wait to see what God is going to do through everyone working together on the blog!
Chapter 5 is based off of Matthew 18:21-35.
Here is a little overview about what God teaches us about forgiveness. Everyone has a choice whether they are going to take revenge or give forgiveness in any given situation. Yes, revenge can be satisfying to the human nature and is usually our first instinct when someone offends us, but it’s never the right answer. “In Jesus’ society revenge was not only common but viewed as legitimate, it was an appropriate and necessary exercise to protect their honor.” “This was the essence of revenge.”
The Bible instructs us to refrain from revenge in several verses, Leviticus 19:18 “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbors as yourself. I am the Lord.” Matthew 5:38-39, 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” People today tend to use this verse to justify revenge, but actually what this verse is saying is when someone does something to you don’t take revenge out on them instead we need to show them mercy and forgive them.
We all mess up and God graciously forgives us each and every time. “The greatest dishonoring violence in the New Testament is the cross of Christ.” Yet Jesus did not take revenge on those crucifying Him; He did the complete opposite. His words to those crucifying Him were not “Father punish them” instead they were “Father forgive them.” This is the perfect example of forgiveness. Jesus teaches us in Matthew 18:21-22 that forgiveness is to be given 7 times 70 or 490 times, which represents Myriad which is Greek for beyond number.
We as humans tend to want forgiveness from people but don’t want to give forgiveness when someone does wrong to us. The parable in Matthew 18:23-35 talks about a king who wants to settle accounts with his servants, he came to one who was unable to pay so he ordered that the servants wife and children be sold to pay for the debt, the servant fell on his knees and begged the king to be patient with him, the king had compassion and cancelled the debt completely. When the servant left he came across one of his fellow servants who owed him money and demanded to be paid back, but was unable to pay, so he had his fellow servant thrown into prison. The kings heard about what had happened and called the servant in, and asked the servant shouldn’t you have shown mercy on your fellow servant just as I showed you mercy? The king was furious and had the servant tortured till he repaid his debt. The seriousness of this parable can be found in Matthew 6:15 “But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins”.