Teen Time: God forgives me, so why are there consequences? (November 14th)

Claiming ‘God forgives me’ does not excuse us from the legal consequences of our actions.

Quick test: Do your actions help or hurt others?

If our actions hurt anyone, they require us to answer for them. Depending on the severity of our actions, that might involve the court of law. Claiming ‘God forgives me’ does not remove our legal responsibility nor the obligation by society to give us consequences.

Only when our actions help others, even when they are against the law of the land (like Christians hiding Jews in Nazi occupied territory during WWII), then we can say the law is unfair and we shouldn’t experience the consequences we face.

Sunday Reflection – September 12, 2021


Parable of the unforgiving servant

Matthew 1821 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Should I forgive as many as seven times?”

22 Jesus said, “Not just seven times, but rather as many as seventy times seven times. 23 Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle accounts, they brought to him a servant who owed him ten thousand bags of gold.25 Because the servant didn’t have enough to pay it back, the master ordered that he should be sold, along with his wife and children and everything he had, and that the proceeds should be used as payment. 26 But the servant fell down, kneeled before him, and said, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I’ll pay you back.’ 27 The master had compassion on that servant, released him, and forgave the loan.

28 “When that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him one hundred coins. He grabbed him around the throat and said, ‘Pay me back what you owe me.’

29 “Then his fellow servant fell down and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I’ll pay you back.’ 30 But he refused. Instead, he threw him into prison until he paid back his debt.

31 “When his fellow servants saw what happened, they were deeply offended. They came and told their master all that happened. 32 His master called the first servant and said, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you appealed to me. 33 Shouldn’t you also have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 His master was furious and handed him over to the guard responsible for punishing prisoners, until he had paid the whole debt.

35 “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you if you don’t forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Performed by Margaret Whisselle

Kids Korner: Jesus asks us to forgive (September 12th)

Read Matthew 18:21-35 with your family. Forgiving others is hard, especially if they really hurt you deeply.

Sometimes people say “Forgive and forget”, but that isn’t in the Bible, and that’s not what Jesus said. (‘Forget and forgive’ comes from the play King Lear in the 1600’s, and the novel Don Quixote in the 1700’s.) We are not asked to forget, because sometimes when we are hurt that becomes a learning experience for us. Jesus did not tell us to forget our hurts.

Instead, Jesus said forgive others 70×7. Seven in the Hebrew culture was the number of completion, of perfection (i.e. God made the world in seven days), so those sitting with Jesus would understand why Peter and Jesus picked that number specifically. And because Jesus said 70×7, we should understand that as never ending, not 490 times.

Forgiveness is how we get rid of our hurt because carrying that hurt makes us angry and cranky, and that’s not who God wants us to be. So every time we are reminded of that hurt, we have to choose to forgive the person again. Even if we remember 70 times a day, each time we have to make the choice to forgive. Over time it gets better.

Teen Time: Forgiveness is a repetitive action (September 12th)

Forgiveness is not a ‘one-and-done’ action, it’s something we have to return to again and again, depending on the level of hurt.

Think of forgiveness as doing exercises, curls or crunches: We would never do only one rep and think we were now in top shape. That’s how forgiveness works. It’s not about the other person, it’s about us and making sure we don’t hang on to bitterness which can rot our hearts and souls and makes us miserable people.

The scripture reference today is Matthew 18:21-35.