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|Ecclesiasticus 27:30-28:7-Anger and Vengeance-A FORGIVING CHRISTIAN |
30 Anger and wrath, these also are abominations, and the sinful man will possess them. BUT CHRISTIANS MUST NOT POSSESS THEM BY ANY MEANS
Proverbs 6:16–19 lists seven things which are also abominations: "haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers." Plus https://www.openbible.info/topics/abomination
28 He that takes vengeance will suffer vengeance from the Lord,
and he will firmly establish[a] his sins.
2 Forgive your neighbor the wrong he has done,
and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray. THE LORD’S PRAYER The Lord's Prayer in the Sermon on the Mount: "Forgive us our sins, as we also have forgiven others their sins" (Matthew 6:12). CONDITIONAL
3 Does a man harbor anger against another,(negative thoughts and ideas)
and yet seek for healing from the Lord? MANY UNANSWERED PRAYERS
4 Does he have no mercy toward a man like himself,
and yet pray for his own sins? FORGIVE AND BE FORGIVEN
5 If he himself, being flesh, maintains wrath,
who will make expiation for his sins? ALL WILL JUDGE...
6 Remember the end of your life, and cease from enmity,
remember destruction and death, and be true to the commandments.
7 Remember the commandments, and do not be angry with your neighbor;
remember the covenant of the Most High, and overlook ignorance.
Matthew 18-21-35-The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant-LET’S LEARN...
21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Peter here is trying to quantify forgiveness. He wants to keep score. He may think he’s sounding generous and magnanimous, suggesting what seems to him like a lot of times to have to show forgiveness. “Seven times! Aren’t I being grand and merciful, Jesus? I’m willing to go up to seven whole times!”...IT USE TO BE 3X
22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. EQUALS 490X- Of course, we understand what Jesus is saying. By picking such a ridiculously high number, Jesus is saying, in effect, “Don’t keep the score at all!” Not seventy times seven, not seventy-seven, not even seven. Don’t keep track of how often you forgive. Just forgive, whether it’s the first time or the 491st. Forgiveness is never counted.
What should a forgiven sinner’s attitude be toward those who offend or sin against him? The teaching embraced in this parable becomes powerful when placed in its first-century setting. Let us look at the setting, the propensity to vengeance as seen in the pagan world, the rabbinical teaching concerning forgiveness, and the biblical context. In the ancient world, cruel treatment was practiced against debtors, often without regard to the debtor’s ability or intention to repay. In Athens prior to the establishment of democratic rights, a creditor could demand the slave labor of his debtor or of members of the debtor’s family as surety of payment. Roman law provided punishment by imprisonment to the debtors. The reason for imprisonment and cruel treatment was to force the debtor to sell whatever property he might secretly own or to have the debtor’s relatives pay his debt. The creditor would demand the slave labor of the entire family so that the debt might be worked off. There were legal restrictions to prevent extreme cruelty, but despite the laws, the entire system of debts and sureties was recklessly abused in the ancient world. The prophets frequently condemned violations of the laws.
23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.
And talent is referring to silver. It was the largest unit of money that was known. This is a mind-boggling. To give an estimated idea, a. 10,000 talents are equivalent to 300 tons of silver which were worth 6,000 denarii. A denarius was the typical wage for 1 day’s work So one, single talent would represent the wages for 6,000 days of work or about 24 years of work. Probably the best estimation with inflation it is about $6 million.
26 The servant, therefore, fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.
28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying,
Finding one of his “fellow-slaves” who owed him 100 denarii. This was not an insignificant amount. It was more than 3 months' wages (a denarius a day). You can pro-rate that to your own salary. The dude owed him something like $15,000.
‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down [a]at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.
31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother [c]his trespasses.”
The theme of this Sunday's Readings: Lord, Help us to Forgive Others As You Forgive Us. The Christian's duty to love as Christ loves us has been the theme of the readings for the past three Sundays. We demonstrate our love for Christ by showing the same mercy and forgiveness to others that God has shown us.
Mercy and forgiveness should be at the heart of the lives of those who love God. However, as the First Reading reminds us, sometimes we stubbornly hold on to our anger and withhold our forgiveness when we feel wronged. The inspired writer of Sirach summarizes his message, writing: Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight. The vengeful will suffer the LORD's vengeance, for he remembers their sins in detail (Sirach 27:30-28:1).
Acting out in anger that inflicts harm is an abomination to God. As for those motived to do wrong by releasing hateful feelings, God will remember their transgressions. The appeal in the First Reading is to seek peace and reconciliation instead of disharmony and discord.
Anger and conflict is the products of a vengeful and unforgiving heart.
At the end of the Lord's Prayer, Jesus warned: "If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions" (Mt 6:14-15).
In our Second Reading, St. Paul reminds us that we do not belong to a world controlled by sin; Christians belong to Christ. We are no longer our own because we have been purchased by the Precious Blood Jesus shed for us on the altar of the Cross. Extending our forgiveness to others is the best expression of our gratitude to Jesus for the mercy and forgiveness He offers us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
In the Gospels, Jesus repeatedly warned us when we withhold our forgiveness, our anger and desire for vengeance can become a hindrance to experiencing God's forgiveness for our sins (i.e., Mt 6:14-15; Mk 11:25). In today's Gospel Reading, Jesus gives an example to His disciples to illustrate the necessity of forgiveness in the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. Jesus' the parable teaches Christians, who are His servants, the obligation to forgive their brothers and sisters who have wronged them in the Church's covenant family. When Christians face the Judgment Throne of God and are held accountable for any sins committed against love, God will take our selfish desire to withhold forgiveness into account. Jesus calls us to practice His example of forgiveness when, from the altar of the Cross, He cried out, "Father, forgive them" (Mt 23:34).
One of the characteristic features of Christianity is its insistence on the necessity of forgiveness. Jesus demands unrestricted forgiveness, which significantly modifies the OT teaching, which was based on the principle of strict reciprocity, expressed through the famous axiom “eye for eye and tooth for a tooth”. Today’s readings offer some help to make Jesus’ radical demand for forgiveness understandable, and thus easier to fulfill.
Forgiveness is Modeling the mercy and compassion God has for each of us. And it is one of the hardest things for us to do. Some people nourish hurts and vengeful emotions like wounds of war. They hug them closely-- cherish them—as a twisted security blanket on which they have come to rely. Others let these emotions take hold of them and try as they may wrestle free, the negativity only winds itself tighter. And for others, forgiveness is not even an option. Their only solace comes in seeing the other suffer punishment. All these causes are more pain.
Forgiveness is a gift we give to another, to ourselves, and to God. And like the father in the story of the prodigal son who forgives his son even before he repents and returns, we can begin to forgive today. Jesus makes the point directly and with the negative example of a parable that the exercise of forgiveness for individuals/ families/communities/nation must be extravagant and without limits.
Prayer...I want to be Christian...I am a Christian with an unforgiving spirit...
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever....“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Amen...And God’s peace which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
"Come and See" John 1:46
St Philip's Anglican Church
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