The heart of forgiveness in Matthew 18 video discussion

The lectionary gospel reading for Trinity 15 in Year A is Matt 18.21–35. It continues Matthew’s collection of Jesus’ teaching about life in the ekklesia—not the ‘church’ as we would understand it now, but within the community of God, gathered around obedience to Jesus himself.

Jesus’ teaching here is striking, in that is shifts the focus away from the grievance of the one sinned against, to the meaning of forgiveness in the context of our relationship with God. His parable here is full of hyperbole and humour, and is easy to engage with—yet full of real challenge.

Join James and Ian as they discuss the text and its interpretation, and the issues around its pastoral application.

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2 thoughts on “The heart of forgiveness in Matthew 18 video discussion”

  1. 1. Is it hype? God”s forgiveness, in Christ, is infinite, total forgiveness, eternal. And his cry for forgiveness on the cross that echoes down eternity.
    2. There is always a cost to forgiveness. The question is, who pays it? There indeed may need to be a lifetime of forgiveness, when thoughts or encounters arise, unbidden.
    3. Related to point 2 is the example of the widow of the murdered church organist and it is the question of torturers. Was she not released from the prison of unforgiveness, of torture by repeating thoughts which can flow into the wormwood of bitterness? Self imprisonment and torture.
    4 One aspect which may need futher thought is how we deal with sins oor trespasses against us. Is it with pride?
    Years ago after preaching on forgiveness in a Methodist church, the organist struck up a conversation. He knew people in the congregation criticised his playing (and as the organist had to play with his backs to the congregation he was figuratively being stabbed in the back) but what did they know, he was the one doing it, making the effort, putting in the time. He was trying to show it was water of a duck’s back, when it wasn’t? He dealt with it through pride, pride of position of being the chapel organist. A trap of the sin of pride, of being better than them.
    5 We have a friend who was sexually abused by her uncle and as a teen was raped by a stranger.
    Through a number of years of various pastoral support she reached a place of forgiveness even though there was no repentance from the perpetrators. A harder question she had to deal with, as an adult convert to Christ, was where was God in it all?

  2. One possibility which strikes me is: did the first servant (the “big debt” guy) actually hear and understand that his debt had been cancelled? Or was he still thinking in terms of working his debt off eventually somehow, and that was why he continued to chase down a petty debt he was owed? That could raise questions about how much we understand grace as we have received it, and the impact it should make on our own behaviour.


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