Sunday, September 9, 2018

Second Sunday Meditation: Seventy Times Seven

"Then Peter came up to Him and said, "Lord, how many times
may my brother sin against me and I forgive him and let it go?
As many as up to seven times?"
Jesus answered him, I tell you, not up to seven times, but
seventy times seven!"

Parable of the two Lenders

The Lord went on the say that the kingdom of heaven is 
like a human king who wished to settle accounts with his attendants.
When he began accounting, one was brought to him who owed
$10,000 talents, which was probably more like $10,000,000.

However, because the man could not pay his debt, his master
ordered him to be sold, along with his wife and children, and all 
 his possessions.  He also demanded that payment be made.

The man fell to his knees, begging his master for mercy and
asking him to be patient and give him more time to repay his debt,
further promising to pay everything he owed to to him.

Seeing the poor man's distress, his master was filled with 
compassion and mercy  and he decided to forgive
him and  entirely cancelled the debt.

However, after receiving his pardon, this same man went
out and found one of his fellow attendants who owed him a
hundred denari (about twenty dollars); and he grabbed him by
the throat and demanded, "I want the money you owe me!"

And this man fell down on his knees and begged him
earnestly, "Please! Give me time and I will pay you all I owe!"

But his fellow attendant was unwilling to give the man a 
chance and went and had him thrown into debtors' prison.

When his fellow attendants saw what happened, they were
greatly distressed and they went and told everything that
had happened to their master.

The master called in the man whom he had forgiven and
said to him, "You contemptible and wicked attendant! I forgave
and cancelled all the great debt you owed to me after you
begged me to and now you are showing none of the same
pity and mercy I had on you?

The angry master then turned the man over to the jailers
until he could pay all that he owed.

"So also My heavenly Father will deal with every one of you,
if you do not freely forgive your brother from your heart his offenses."
Matthew 18:21-35

Believers in Messiah have no excuse not to forgive. 
Even while He was hanging on the cross in terrible agony,
Jesus reached out in love and compassion to those who were 
murdering Him and prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they
know not what they do."

In my own walk of faith I have struggled with much
bitterness and resentment stemming from situations of the past.
As a child I was mentally and emotionally abused by people in
my life that I thought should love me, that I wanted to love 
and to accept me.  Instead, I was rejected, passed over as
"the weird fat kid" of the family.  My younger siblings and
others would hear the adults insulting me and so that gave
them a green light to call me terrible names and reject me too.
Years later, I met the man who would become my husband.
The warning signs were all there.  He was separated from 
his wife, whom he eventually divorced, yet apparently
could not completely break away from  in his heart.

He pursued me, however, and I was flattered, but I was
also desperate.  I thought it was now or never. If I did
not marry him than no one else was likely to come along.
The "weird fat kid" would become a "weird old maid".
 I was miserable living at home with my parents.
So, I took the leap from the frying pan into the fire and married
this man only a year after he divorced his first wife.

 As a new bride, I found myself saddled with three step-children to care 
 for as well as a meddlesome ex-wife who was determine to make our
 married life miserable.  My husband could not or would not stand up
to her almost constant harassment, and, as I was to learn
  through the course of our 23 years together, could not 
 stop pining away for her and their past relationship.
  Instead, he took out his frustration at his failings and 
his rejection from her on me and our two special needs sons,
with much mental, emotional, and sometimes, physical abuse.

I was trapped in a failed marriage and seemed to have no one
to turn to, but, over the years I began to turn to God for guidance
and strength. When my husband walked out on me and our sons 
 in 2013,  it felt as if the Lord opened up the door of my prison
cell and released me from the shackles of despair and loneliness.

I was free from my unhappy marriage, and yet, I felt like a fish
out of water.  Like most abused women who often confuse love and
security with familiarity, I felt a sense of shock and disbelief at
my new set of circumstances.  I was also full of fear.

And yet, despite the fear and resentment and rejection I felt,
 I knew that God loved me and would never abandoned me or
my sons.  I also knew I had to learn to forgive my husband and 
 my family and others who hurt and rejected me in the past.
However, the one person I have found most difficult
to forgive is myself.

 I have come to realize that the only remedy for learning 
 to forgive one's self is total surrender at the foot of the cross.

To keep my focus on the selfless love of Jesus and what
He did for me at Calvary.

That's when the broken child inside the broken woman
was truly liberated from the prison of her past.  Freed
 to walk forward into the future with the Lord of glory.

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