January 09, 2020 – Thursday
Matthew 18:21-22 NIV
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven times.”
Yesterday when we looked at Matthew 6:14-15 we looked at the Greek transliterated word paraptoma used therein as sin and as transgressions and found it to be defined by Strong’s as (unintentional) error or (wilful) transgression:—fall, fault, offence, sin, trespass; while Vine’s Dictionary defined it as primarily “a false step, a blunder,” lit., “a fall beside,” used ethically, denotes “a trespass,” a deviation, from uprightness and truth.
Today we have a different word used primarily for sin, the Greek transliterated hamartano and translated almost exclusively as sin. Strong’s defines it as properly, to miss the mark (and so not share in the prize), i.e. (figuratively) to err, especially (morally) to sin:—for your faults, offend, sin, trespass. Note especially (morally) to sin. Vine’s Dictionary gives us lit., “a missing of the mark,” but this etymological meaning is largely lost sight of in the NT. It is the most comprehensive term for moral obliquity. More to the point it also has a principle or source of action, or an inward element producing acts and denotes “an act of disobedience to Divine law.
That is more than enough on definitions, look again at the two verses for today and note Peter asks Jesus a question and Jesus answers. Done. Right? Wrong. Jesus continues on in verses 23 through 35 telling a story or parable that makes the same points as in Matthew 6:14-15. Quite the story too as He begins to enlarge upon His answer by saying 23 Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. The Therefore tells us the story or parable is directly related to the answer He gave Peter. So the kingdom of heaven has a king who will settle accounts with all of his servants.
In the parable the king has a servant who owed an incredible amount of money which he could not pay so he and his family and all of his possessions were to be sold to pay the debt. The servant begged to be given a chance to pay back his debt someway somehow. The king pitied him and canceled the debt setting him free.
Wonderful news! At least until that very same servant ran across one of his fellow servants who owed him a small sum (compared to the debt he had been forgiven) and demanded repayment. When his fellow servant asked for mercy and time to repay, he refused and had the man placed in a debtor’s prison.
Others saw what had occurred and told the king. The king was not happy and called the servant back into his presence and berated him for not extending the mercy he had received unto his own fellow servant. Then the king had him place in jail to be tortured until he paid back all he owed to the king.
Now I was not there obviously, as Jesus told this story, but I imagine Him slowly looking around at everyone in His presence as He concludes this story before saying is a quiet serious voice full of authority This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart. Jesus did not simply say we had to forgive, but we had to forgive from our hearts if we expect our heavenly Father to forgive us.
A real life example of this was given to me by a friend. It is where Adolph Coors explains how growing up in the Coors Brewing family taught him that wealth could never protect him from misfortune. After his father was murdered, Adolph spent years searching for meaning in life, which he eventually found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. In his testimony Adolf Coors’ describes the experience of living with unforgiveness for the man who kidnapped and murdered his father, This unforgiveness poisoned the family and literally brought his mother to an early grave. However, after accepting Christ, Adolf when to the prison and forgave his father’s murderer setting himself free from the poison of hatred and bitterness.
There is clearly a reason Jesus said the forgiveness had to be from the heart. Choose forgiveness and be forgiven plus live a life free of the poison of bitterness and hatred.