Week of: September 17, 2017
Scripture: Matthew 18:21-35
Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times."
(Matthew 18:21-22, NRSV)
Following his encounter with Peter, Jesus told a parable of the unforgiving debtor, in which forgiveness is extravagantly displayed. Jesus taught that God’s forgiveness is so far beyond our understanding and deserving, and he emphasized that we will only receive in exchange for what we have offered. When teaching his disciples how to pray, Jesus said, "Forgive us our sin as we forgive those who sin against us" (Matthew 6:12). This part of the Lord's Prayer is echoed many times in Jesus’ teaching: forgive as God has forgiven you.
As worship leaders, we model many things and the point of this parable is one that must be applied in our congregations today. The giving and the receiving of forgiveness is crucial, because one cannot have it without doing it. Be intentional with forgiveness. "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15).
Forgiving God, we are humbled by the love and grace that you give us. Help us to forgive others as extravagantly as you have first forgiven us. Amen.
Director of Music Ministry
First United Methodist Church
Photo: Evening worship at St. James United Methodist Church in Little Rock, AR, during Awaken 2017, The Fellowship's Biennial Convocation. Worship visuals crafted by Karla Kincannon.