Sunday, April 7, 2019

I Am Sorry

I Am Sorry
April 8, 2019
Matthew 18:21  ".....Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?"

What if someone wronged you and you never heard them say the words, 'I am sorry'? It is rather a rhetorical question, because most of us have hurt that has never been addressed by those who hurt us. Even Jesus lived through that at the crucifixion. Jesus forgave those who were crucifying Him, while they were actively crucifying Him. He did not hold it against them, or want revenge. Most of those involved honestly believed they were right in hating Him, right in believing He was a heretic. They murdered Him in the most horrific manner, and yet He asked His father not to hold it against them. After Jesus rose from the dead, it is never documented that anyone who took part in the crucifixion apologized. They never once said the words 'I am sorry'.   He was harmed and He never heard someone ask forgiveness for murdering Him.

Jesus taught about forgiveness because someone asked Him about it. Jesus, how many times do I have to forgive someone before I can hold them accountable for the wrong they have caused me? Jesus said we should keep forgiving. And then there was the woman caught in adultery, and they were ready to stone her. Surely, they had a right to hold her accountable for her wrongs. They were holding stones ready to kill her and called Jesus over to agree. The Bible does not say if the woman was begging for her life, for forgiveness. Jesus said they could hold her accountable if they were without sin themselves. Eventually they all walked away, realizing their own sin at some point warranted punishment, with forgiveness being sought. The truth is, we have all been the woman caught in adultery, needing to apologize for the wrong, but we all have been those holding the stones ready to administer justice to the one who has committed the wrong. But as a stone-holder, have you ever remembered your own sin, the one you got away with, the one you never received punishment for or sought forgiveness or apologized. As a stone-holder, have you dropped the stone and said the words 'I am sorry'?

You and I get offended by people, truly hurt even by those who call themselves Christians, and you will never hear the words 'I am sorry'. Somehow you have to live with that, wrestling through the pain and discomfort, unable to convince an audience that you're right and justified while the offender gets off free of charge to do it again. And then, to make matters worse, when the offending party walks away unapologetic, the Lord says we have to forgive. Sometimes the pain of forgiving someone without hearing the words 'I am sorry' is worse than the pain from the original offense.

Jesus, in the hours leading up to His crucifixion, heard Peter deny Him three times. Peter was the one who asked Jesus how many times he had to forgive his brother over and over again. I know Peter is grateful for the forgiveness. There were those who received the forgiveness of Jesus for the act of crucifying Him and yet they weren't grateful. You will have to forgive those who are not grateful for it. It isn't easy. You will never hear the words 'I am sorry' and for that I am sorry. It's painful and hard, and ugly and simply wrong in every sense of the word. Sometimes there is not solace in it, with only time able to heal. Just know, however, that you, too, have been forgiven likely more than you deserve, as well. Jesus said if we do not forgive, then the Lord will deal with us harshly. I am sorry.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Matt 18:21-35, Lk 23:34, Rom 8:28, Eph 4:32

No comments: