getting out the WORD - the 15th sunday after pentecost PDF Print E-mail

the PRAYER...
O Lord God, merciful judge, you are the inexhaustible fountain of forgiveness. Replace our hearts of stone with hearts that love and adore you, that we may delight in doing your will, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING...
"So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart."

Matthew 18:21-35


Heartfelt! Compassionate! Sincere! On good days, that's how we think about faith. Strong, but at the same time very, very gentle. And it's all there in those last three words... FROM THE HEART!

Unfortunately, that's not what inspires the forgiving. At least, not in this "gospel." What moves the church, here, is more basic. It's fear, simple and plain. It's the threat! "So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you!" Anger! Torture! Forgive OR ELSE! And so, we forgive. Not because we want to. Not even because we care! We forgive for the same reason we do most things! We're afraid not to! Afraid we'll be punished! Afraid of the consequences if we don't! And love doesn't have anything to do with it!

But truth is, believing IS about warmth and compassion and being genuine! It's patience and gentleness, kindness and all the rest! And the challenge we face is being blind, becoming deaf to it all because of verses just like this one! We forgive, because we've been forgiven! And we love - not out of fear - but because god first loved us!

Bob Barndt, pastor

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