In Matthew chapter 18, starting justly at verse 21(with both numbers 18 & 21 being key reminders in our society as mile markers for maturity.)
Now after Peter asks Jesus how often he should forgive someone who sins against him (i.e. 490), Jesus tells the story of a servant whose massive debt is forgiven by the king, but who then refuses to forgive a smaller debt owed to him and is tortured for it.
The core message of this story is that God will forgive all sins, and we should too.
Now notice also that this story was told gently to disciple and to instruct Peter who is the only one who holds the keys to “unlock” the Kingdom of God.
Now we all heard this story, and COINCIDENTALLY at VERSE 33, which is also a number of MATURITY, Jesus ends this story with this in Matthew 18,
“33Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.
35“That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”
Two “KEY” Elements Here!
- Notice Jesus’ reference to “my Father” as to A FATHERS LOVE. Jesus is like, “I wouldn’t do that, but my Father would!”. Once again, the mystery of the TRINITY is about God’s love with 3 different “intimacies” with man. (The love of a Father, the love of a Friend and finally the love of a Husband as a symbol of marriage as the two becoming one via the Holy Spirit.) It’s God above us, with us and now, in us.
- Second, it is a simple story of The Law vs. God’s Love. If we live by the “Levitcal” SWORD we are at EXTREME RISK of DYING BY IT!
Yes, the sword is God’s Word, but like the Holy Trinity, it too has three uses or purposes! And it is HOW we individually choose to use God’s Word from our HEARTS(Mark 4:24 & Matthew 7:2), is what Jesus was speaking of. Are we stuck on former things and have neglected the more important latter purpose?
He again reminding us, “beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and saduccees,” as trying to achieve change from the outside first before a change of heart. Are we making the same mistakes as they did by seeking perfection on the outside and neglecting the perfection and maturity that is sown from love, forgiveness and mercy? (Hosea 6:6 NLT)
Once again, if we CANNOT ACCEPT GOD’S GRACE fully, then The LAW REMAINS.
And The Law is NOT PRETTY. Its a Father’s Love! The “fear” of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom! Proverbs 9:10 (Notice that “10” is there as a reminder of The Law)
I said once, that if we find ourselves unappreciative or dis-content of our NEW and IMPROVED home, we may need to GO BACK and spend some time and reflect a bit where our OLD home was! And many of us are there right now, INVOLUNTARILY!
Likewise, if we cannot appreciate or understand fully the NEW testament, we may need to read up on the OLD testament a bit.
And that pretty much sums up mankind. It is healthy to know where our hearts are from time to time. The knowledge of good and evil required this MATURITY prior to us desiring to eat of it. Like the Yin/Yang, its embracing both, BUT its one or the other!
There are NO gray areas! Gray and lukewarm are NOT signs of balance and of being content, but signs of complacency and CONFUSION!
It’s not one foot in the Law and one foot in God’s love, or one foot in Egypt and one foot in the Promised Land, or one foot in slavery and another in freedom! that’s being “lukewarm“, those are signs of being in the WILDERNESS and the WILDERNESS was God’s people being in a state of confusion!
Notice The “HINT” Jesus gives us about our “bodies” being in a state of confusion or as a stumbling block to others about The Law vs. Love. That if one hand or one eye or foot causes us to be in conflict of any part of God’s love or grace, that we should CUT IF OFF!
This was a practice under the law at one time and a clear sign of this confusion. Those body parts maybe parts of us that still cannot let go of “The Law”. Parts of our past that we fully have not “let go” or forgiven. Parts of our minds and hearts that still struggle with works and desiring to earn God’s grace versus us simply receiving it freely as a gift.
A heart that still looks at peoples “sins” versus their “sin” singular. There is something about being separated from God that leads us to a life of confusion that is then manifested in our life as the sins we know via adultery, homosexuality, gambling, alcoholism, abuse, lying, stealing, etc. Those are all just the attributes of “sin”, however it is NOT the “sin” that Jesus chose to FIX first!
Clean the cup in the inside first, then the outside will eventually become clean! Fix our separation from God FIRST by addressing our ORIGINAL sin caused in Eden, and then we will see a genuine transformation in each other’s hearts and lives.
The “parts of the body” that Jesus speaks of could also be parts of The Church. It also could be those in our inner circle, like a Judas. People in our homes, community, work and those whom we socialize regularly. It could also be our cell phone, TV, or our home computer.
But whomever these “parts” represent, may we have the faith to remove them from our lives temporarily until we can have the maturity and compassion to have them as a part of our lives without causing any confusion in us and in others.
There are no accidents in God’s plan. If our hearts still live in the Law, Satan is like a lion waiting to devour us! Hurry up and crossover to God’s grace and love where we can now intentionally and willingly visit The Law anytime as a “visitor” or guest of honor so to speak, protected by Gods PERFECT/MATURE love where there is NO MORE FEAR of punishment, amen?
Confusion needs a Fathers love, then soon after, God via Jesus comes as a friend and now we are less confused, but then He leaves us with one more task, to draw even nearer as to DESIRE the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and to not be simply content with it being above us or simply with us.
And this latter love is God’s unconditional love which symbolizes Christ’s marriage to The Church. It’s a mature and perfect love, it gives us this “peace” Jesus spoke of in John 14:26-28. Now this “peace” may not always change our circumstances but it will definitely change our heart and this is God’s will and divine order.
Forgiveness no more lives above us or with us, it now lives in us! From confused, to less confused to now having peace in Christ Jesus our Lord. A peace that comes from a desire to try to understand it all or simply not to.
Your brother in our war against sin,