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Forgive What?

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The Unforgiving Servant

Mt. 18:23-35

Whenever I tell people that I am writing my dissertation on forgiveness they are nearly always full of questions.  The questions rarely have to do with second temple Judaism, but most often with problems that they are facing today.  I have come to realize that forgiveness is an issue that everyone is interested in.

In the work “Love in the Time of Cholera”, Gaberiel Garcia Marquez, writes of a marriage that disintegrates over a bar of soap.  It was the wife’s job to keep the house in order, including the provision of towels and soap.  One day she forgot to replace the soap, an oversight that her husband mentioned in an exaggerated way by saying “I have been bathing for a week with no soap.”  She viperously denied it, although she knew that she had forgotten to replace the soap.  Her pride was on the line.  For seven months they slept in separate rooms and ate in silence.

Marquez writes “Even when they were old and placid, they were very careful about bringing it up, for the barely healed wounds  could begin to bleed again as if they had been inflicted only yesterday.”  An so a bar of soap almost ruined a marriage simply because neither partner would say “Stop.  This cannot go on.  I am sorry, please forgive me.”

In her memoir of a truly dysfunctional family, called “The Liar’s Club” Mary Karr tells the story of a Texas Uncle who remained married to his wife but did not speak to her for forty years after a fight over how much money she spent on sugar.  One day he took out a lumber saw and sawed their house exactly in half.  He nailed up planks to cover the raw sides and moved one of the halves behind a group of pine trees on the same acre of ground.  There the two, husband and wife, lived out the rest of their lives in separate half-houses.

Because Jesus has forgiven us, we must be forgiving people.

1.       To Whom was the parable delivered?

2.      Who are the main characters in the parable?

3.      What is shocking about the parable?

a.       The Grace shown by the king

b.      The ungrace shown by the servant

c.       The judgment shown by the king

Hebrews 12:15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;

There is a story that one night Martin Luther went to sleep troubled about his sin. In a dream he say an angel standing by a blackboard, and at the top of the board was Luther’s name. The angel, chalk in hand, was listing all of Luther’s sins, and the list filled the blackboard. Luther shuddered in despair, feeling that his sins were so many that he could never be forgiven. But suddenly in his dream he saw a pierced hand writing above the list these words: "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." As Luther gazed in amazement, the blood flowed from the wounded hand and washed the record clean.

The Sunflower-In the book the Sunflower by Simon Wisenthal, he tells of visiting a young man named Karl while Wisenthal was in a concentration camp.  The young man wanted to find forgiveness from a Jew.  Wisenthal walked out of the room.

Jesus never walks out of the room.

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