Today's Reading: Matthew 17-20
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?" Matthew 18:21 NRSV
We all want rules. We want to know what the boundaries are, how we should behave and what is not allowed. If we don't have rules, we end up with chaos and usually someone gets hurt.
Peter wanted to know the rules. Jesus has just give the disciples the guidelines for one someone in the church had offended them. Peter wants to know how often one must go to all this trouble: meeting with the individual, taking one or two witnesses when you can't work it out, going to the whole congregation when there is still disagreement, then resorting to kicking the person out so that they would have to be evangelized again. How often, Lord, must we go through this arduous process? Would the perfect amount be the perfect number -- seven times?
Would you be able to forgive someone who had sinned against you seven times?
I have a hard enough time forgiving someone one time. In fact, there are at least two individuals whom I work constantly to forgive and I still haven't gotten there yet. Seven times would stretch my forgiving ability.
But many of us know that Jesus wants us to forgive again and again and again. That, of course, is what love is about. And there is no ruling when it comes to love.
God, you want us to love one another, not just follow a set of rules. May forgiveness be central to our love for one another. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims