Our scripture this week is Matthew 18:21-35.

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?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Do you remember a time when you were forgiven something? Did it feel like a weight being lifted, something to no longer fear, relief? God is waiting to give us that feeling, only stronger than any earthly forgiveness could possibly be.

When we accept God’s forgiveness, we become a new creation, born to a new life. Some say it is being repurposed, but it’s really being put to our original purpose – to love God, love one another and make sure everyone gets to hear about the joy of that connection. Being forgiven clears our accounts, as the king did for the servant in our scripture this week.

However, God’s forgiveness creates a new obligation in our lives, to be part of His family and part of His work here. We accept a responsibility for each other when we are forgiven, a responsibility the wicked servant from the lesson failed. If we want to be truly forgiven, we must forgive all who have wronged us, carrying only the love of God in our changed hearts and lives.

Loving Lord, You have loved and forgiven us. Help us to love and forgive others that they may see the truth and joy that only a relationship with You can bring. Amen.

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