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“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:35). 

In this age of tolerance, it is so easy for us to define biblical terms in our own ways, ways that perhaps suit or justify what we’re already doing. But God is very good about making sure that there is no room for accepting a standard or definition any different than the one He intends us to have. After reading: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another,” could anyone truly accept a lesser form of love? The same goes for forgiveness: “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” So, the parable that Jesus tells Peter perfectly illustrates the forgiveness the Lord has for us and the lack of forgiveness we’d like to get away with. Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” and in doing so the apostle is hoping to justify a lower standard. But in this earthly story the heavenly meaning of the depth and richness of God’s forgiveness of us is evident in stark contrast to the shortness of ours.

A forgiveness problem usually indicates a love problem in us and should make us truly evaluate ourselves in the light of what God has done for us. After all, God’s forgiveness of us is at stake.

Do you forgive as God does?

Doug Kashorek
Plattsburgh church of Christ
Plattsburgh, NY

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