Between Sundays for Week of September 18, 2023
What’s the limit? How far do I have to go? When can I stop? – Those are NOT the questions that Peter asks in today’s gospel, but they could be. When Peter asks, “how often should I forgive?” he wants Jesus to identify a limit. Peter appears to be open to an expansive understanding of forgiveness – “as many as seven times” he wonders. But Jesus’ response, “not seven times, but . . . seventy-seven times” reminds us that forgiveness that keeps count misses the point. Forgiveness is not a means to an end. Forgiveness is a way of life. Like the love that we talked about last week, forgiveness is one of the building blocks of life TOGETHER with Jesus.
Where two or three are gathered – even in the name of Christ – misunderstandings, mistakes, mis-steps are sure to happen. People are not perfect. We are not perfect. And forgiveness – receiving God’s forgiveness, forgiving ourselves, forgiving one another – is the way that we get back on track of loving God and neighbor well.
So when we think about Peter’s questions – how often should I forgive? We might as well think – what are the limits of Love? Love never ends and neither does our work as God’s people. We cultivate the practices of love and forgiveness to root ourselves more deeply in God’s promises. LOVE and FORGIVENESS are the foundation of our life TOGETHER in Christ.
In our previous episode, we heard how love is the foundation of our life together and in this episode, Amy reminds us that the practice of forgiveness keeps our foundation solid and in good repair so that our lives remain grounded in Christ.
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he proclaims:
We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.
How does this promise shape your choices and relationships each day? What does this mean for our life TOGETHER in Christ?