I’m not convinced I really drew the two ideas together very well this week but there was something about the juxtaposition of Romans 14:1-12 and Matthew 18:21-35 that grabbed me. What I was trying to do was help us see how we frequently, if not invariably, mistake who is who in discussions of weakness and strength as they relate to convictions and determinations, and make similar mistakes about who forgiveness is actually for.
Paul is at great pains to help us see how being in community can help us regardless of whether we are strong or weak in any individual issue, in fact, it isn’t going too far to suggest Paul can’t imagine how anyone can live a successful life of faith outside of a community of believers.
In our Gospel lesson Jesus first dispenses with the notion of a limited number of times to forgive and then draws a correlation between our willingness to forgive others with God’s forgiveness of us. Make no mistake, this DOES NOT mean we can prevent God’s grace and forgiveness to us by refusing to forgive, there are too many contra examples in Scripture for such a conclusion. However, it could be our refusal to forgive prevents us from understanding or see God’s forgiveness of us.
As I noted above, I’m not sure I pulled these two passages together as well as they deserved. Let me know if you agree or disagree with anything I said or with my own assessment.
Image credit: this photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-NC