Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Pastor's Blog

Forgiven, we are wired to Forgive 9/21/2014
Dear friend,

May the seeking grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the inviting grace of God, and the gathering fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you now and always, Amen.


In our text today, after listening to Jesus explain that true greatness is in having a humble and right opinion of oneself, Peter asks a question of our Lord when then drives his next teaching opportunity for his disciples. This question was most likely a response to the previous teaching of the process of conflict resolution that is given whereby an offending brother or sister is to be approached about their sin with the goal of them being restored into the fellowship. In light of this, Peter is seeking to find the limits to forgiving an erring brother or sister.


Our reading is from Matthew 18:21-35.

21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and
27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.



KJV Matthew 18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

After this question and answer exchange, Jesus went on to illustrate this through a story in which a man had a large debt that he could not pay. Because he could not pay, he was to be sold along with his wife and his children and all that he had in order to pay the debt. At this he begged for time, for his master's patience with the promise to pay it all. His master, knowing that it was not possible for him to do so, had compassion on him, and loosed him and forgave him all the debt. He then most likely continued on in serving the his master.
Having been forgiven this huge debt, the servant went out and found one of his fellowservants who owed him a few months wages. One would think that he went up to the fellowservant, hugged him and told him that I have been released from all my debt, so in response to how much I have been released from, I am releasing you from what you owe me. But, no, that is not what happened...

Instead he found (went looking for) his fellowservant, grabbed him by the neck and said, "Pay me what you owe me!" When this fellowservant begged for mercy as the servant had, there was no mercy, and the servant took his fellowservant and cast him into prison until he could pay the debt. He struggled in this matter of forgiveness, just as you and I have and do......

31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.


The fellowservants, seeing the lack of compassion in their friend were very sorry for that which came upon the two servants: For the one that was not given compassion and for the other that he was not compassionate. They did not deal with the offense themselves, but brought it to their master so that he could approach the offender.

Addressing him as a wicked servant, the master reminded him that He had been compassionate to him and had forgiven him of his entire debt because he pleaded with Him to do so.

Secondly, He appealed to the man on the basis of His compassion toward him, offering him grace and forgiveness to him.

Thirdly, it is apparent that he did yield to the appeal of the master, for he was then thrown into prison, a prison which he will only get out of after he pays the entire debt that he owed his master.
He will be in a prison which will not only restrict his freedom, but he will be at the mercy of his tormenters...

What kind of a prison was the man put into? Who were the tormenters?
It is the prison of bitterness, of hatred, of anger, the roots being unfulfilled revenge. Those are the tormenters.


They hurt me so bad and they need to be punished
When they admit they have offended me, I will forgive them.
They don't deserve forgiveness.
To remain in bitterness is like pouring a cup of poison and drinking it ourselves.

When we hold resentment against another, we are bound to that person or condition with a link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link in order to be freed from the prison of bitterness, which is unfulfilled revenge.


It is the hardest thing to give away, And the last thing on our mind today
It always goes to those who don't deserve, It's the opposite how we feel.
When the pain they caused is too real, It takes everything you have just to say the words
I Forgive You.....

It flies in the face of all our pride, It moves away the mad inside
It's always anger's own worst enemy, Even when the jury and judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge, It's the whisper in our ear, saying,
I Release You......

Corrie ten Boom told of not being able to forget a wrong that had been done to her. She had forgiven the person, but she kept rehashing the incident and so couldn't sleep. Finally Corrie cried out to God for help in putting the problem to rest. "His help came in the form of a kindly Lutheran pastor," Corrie wrote, "to whom I confessed my failure after two sleepless weeks." "Up in the church tower," he said, nodding out the window, "is a bell which is rung by pulling on a rope. But you know what? After the sexton lets go of the rope, the bell keeps on swinging. First ding, then dong. Slower and slower until there's a final dong and it stops. I believe the same thing is true of forgiveness. When we forgive, we take our hand off the rope. But if we've been tugging at our grievances for a long time, we mustn't be surprised if the old angry thoughts keep coming for a while. They're just the ding-dongs of the old bell slowing down." "And so it proved to be. There were a few more midnight reverberations, a couple of dings when the subject came up in my conversations, but the force -- which was my willingness in the matter -- had gone out of them. They came less and less often and at the last stopped altogether: we can trust God not only above our emotions, but also above our thoughts."

Forgiveness is not forgetting an injustice done
It is the understanding that allows us to set aside
the emotional impact of that injustice pertaining to ourselves
When we no longer hold those emotions, and have understanding for the person, we have forgiven them.


“I’m Still Learning to Forgive” by Corrie ten Boom

“It was in a church in Munich that I saw him—a balding, heavyset man in a gray overcoat, a brown felt hat clutched between his hands. People were filing out of the basement room where I had just spoken, moving along the rows of wooden chairs to the door at the rear. It was 1947 and I had come from Holland to defeated Germany with the message that God forgives.
“It was the truth they needed most to hear in that bitter, bombed-out land, and I gave them my favorite mental picture. Maybe because the sea is never far from a Hollander’s mind, I liked to think that that’s where forgiven sins were thrown. ‘When we confess our sins,’ I said, ‘God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever. …’
“The solemn faces stared back at me, not quite daring to believe. There were never questions after a talk in Germany in 1947. People stood up in silence, in silence collected their wraps, in silence left the room.
“And that’s when I saw him, working his way forward against the others. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat; the next, a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones. It came back with a rush: the huge room with its harsh overhead lights; the pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor; the shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister’s frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment skin. Betsie, how thin you were!
[Betsie and I had been arrested for concealing Jews in our home during the Nazi occupation of Holland; this man had been a guard at Ravensbruck concentration camp where we were sent.]
“Now he was in front of me, hand thrust out: ‘A fine message, Fräulein! How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!’
“And I, who had spoken so glibly of forgiveness, fumbled in my pocketbook rather than take that hand. He would not remember me, of course—how could he remember one prisoner among those thousands of women?
“But I remembered him and the leather crop swinging from his belt. I was face-to-face with one of my captors and my blood seemed to freeze.
“ ‘You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,’ he was saying, ‘I was a guard there.’ No, he did not remember me.
“ ‘But since that time,’ he went on, ‘I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fräulein,’ again the hand came out—’will you forgive me?’
“And I stood there—I whose sins had again and again to be forgiven—and could not forgive. Betsie had died in that place—could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?
“It could not have been many seconds that he stood there—hand held out—but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.
“For I had to do it—I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. ‘If you do not forgive men their trespasses,’ Jesus says, ‘neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.’
“I knew it not only as a commandment of God, but as a daily experience. Since the end of the war I had had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality. Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were able also to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the physical scars. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids. It was as simple and as horrible as that.
“And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion—I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. ‘… Help!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’
“And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.
“ ‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’
“For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then”


Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Within each prison of my/your own making, there is a window that allows me/you to peer to a place where a man is nailed to the cross, to see Innocent and Guilt Free Love being crucified, to see the warm and loving eyes of the Lamb of God calling to me/you and to hear the words meant for me/you spoken by that Man: Father, Forgive them for they know not what they do."

May we rejoice in the immense forgiveness of our sins today through Christ Jesus!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 21 Sep 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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