Peter asked Jesus, “Where is the limit? How many times do I have to forgive? Is it sufficient to forgive another seven times?”
It is the story in Matthew 18:21-35 where Jesus tells of a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. The king took pity on a slave and forgave him all his debts but the same slave went out and demanded payment from another slave who owed him money.
The king said, “You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow-slave, as I had mercy on you?” In anger, the king handed him over to be tortured until he should pay his entire debt and warned, “So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
The Rev. Leigh Spruill in his Sunday sermon on September 14, 2014 shared that forgiving those who have sinned against us is the hardest ministry there is, and it isn’t a part-time ministry; it has to become a pattern of our existence.
Leigh cautioned us that Jesus does not want us to be enslaved to corrosive relationships: some people should be kept at a distance. But to not forgive them enslaves us, and eventually consumes us. We come together in relationships already bearing wounds from complex pasts that may have been shaped by a lack of love.
“Should you not have mercy on your fellow-slave, as I had mercy on you?” asks God over and over again.
Blessings, my friend,
Hear Leigh’s sermon here:
(for an MP3 file of this podcast, click below)