Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

I hold grudges, so this passage is a tough one for me. Really tough. I like my grudges and would rather not forgive seven times, much less seventy-seven.

Kathryn Matthews writes that "Forgiving one another is an expectation just as difficult as those around money and possessions, and equally ignored, even though they're both at the heart of the gospel and the heart of the life of Jesus." I have a way easier time parting with money and possessions than I do parting with smoldering anger toward someone who's wronged me or a loved one. I'm not proud of that. So I know this is a passage I need to sit and struggle with.

And then there is the complicated nature of forgiveness as it relates to some situations. I like what Karoline Lewis writes in her Dear Working Preacher commentary: "I...want to preach against this passage. Jesus, what about those wrongs which are unforgivable? And there are many. I am not sure what to do with these given Jesus’ words. But perhaps it’s enough, at least for now, that Jesus makes me think again about the purpose of forgiveness in my life -- when I need it, when I give it, when I hold back; to ask myself, what am I waiting for? What still has to happen?"

In this week's image, "forgive" is written 77 times. It pops out to me that the silver pen breaks through the blue -- forgiveness is persistent, sometimes hard to grasp, and always present in some way or another.

Image for September 17, 2017

Matthew 18:21-35

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