Forgive Thy Brother

 

02479c1829cc23ebf3485a2973df9feeJesus told his disciples to “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.  And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.”  Luke 17:3-4. Matthew 18:21-22 raises the bar further by commanding that we forgive persons who sin against us up to 490 times, essentially unlimited forgiveness.  This mirrors the way God deals with our sins, that is, forgiveness without limits… – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   I John 1:9.

This Christian standard for forgiveness is a difficult one to live by for anyone.  Most Christians could perhaps forgive one offense but for the same person to come back seven times in a day and ask for forgiveness for an offense takes supernatural grace.  A “fruit of the Spirit” of longsuffering/gentleness/meekness (Galatians 5:22-23) needs to be deployed to extend this level of forgiveness and this is obtained by “walking in the Spirit”.  Galatians 5:16.

We have a strong motivation to forgive others due to the fact that we must forgive others to get forgiveness of our own sins.  Matthew  6:14-15.  Matthew 18:23-30 presents the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant which illustrates that our debt to God for our offenses is much greater than any person’s debt to us for their offense.  We should be often reminded of the great debt that was paid by Christ on the cross for our sins and this will help us forgive our brothers when they sin against us.

 

 

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