*Pastor’s Note: This is a continuation as part of this weeks Body Ministry category which is an article adapted from Cecil E. Sherman’s Formation Commentary on Matthew. There are a couple of things that I have not kept in the post, things that will NOT change the flow of the message in the least. Also I changed the Scripture verses to the New King James Version.
It will be broken up into four parts throughout this week. Also, any images displayed are not part of the original, but put in as part of my posting. My prayer is that you will be blessed, inspired and encouraged by this to move forward towards Christ Jesus in strength!
A Principle For Standard Use
Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” – Matthew 18:21-22
After dealing with the specific question, “If your brother sins against you,” Peter put the question to Jesus again. “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” The rabbis had said to forgive four times. Peter was more generous than orthodoxy when he suggested seven times. But Jesus took the idea further.
Wounded, broken, angry, bitter Christians are a sorry exhibition for our faith. Getting past such displays was the goal. And to get past a church member who is distracted from worship by the member who “sins against me,” Jesus gave a principle. The principle is the basic, primary rule for all church conflict. We are to forgive. We are to forgive when it is hard, when we don’t want to, when there is any chance the brokenness in Christian fellowship can be healed.
This happens a lot in churches today and has been going on for some time now. A misunderstanding, or a disagreement as to how something should be done and anger and/or bitterness sets in and people withdraw. The outcome, God-given gifts are kept from church services because either someone was wronged or wronged someone themselves. Why does it happen? Someone did not follow the principle Jesus gave us. To make wrongs right, the gifted person would have to begin a conversation that would let forgiveness begin. Someone has to start. It has to begin like this: “I’m sorry. Is there any way we could start over again?” Or, “It matters to me that we be friends. Can we find a way to get past the ugly and hard things that have been said? I want to be your friend.”
Paul said, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:31–32. This is the idea; this is the principle. Go out of your way to forgive.