So, according to the last half of Matthew 18, we are to seek reconciliation when sinned against, which means confronting the one who has sinned against us and forgiving the repentant brother or sister from the heart. Yet, what are we to do when the same person sins the same sin against the same person (us) again and does it repeatedly? Does there come a time when our forgiveness is exhausted?
According to Jesus the answer is “no”.
Now I think if we are honest that “no” qualifies as one of the “hard sayings of Jesus” for after all forgiving such a person is not very easy to do, and why? Forgiveness requires we relinquish our power over someone who has done us wrong. “Power” you might ask, what sort of power do you have in mind? Well think about it. Withholding forgiveness allows us to think of someone, someone that has wronged us, as a sort of second-class citizen. A mindset that then allows us to go on and heap all sorts of petty indignities on said person with a clear conscience, at our leisure and for as long as we like.
Now as good as that may sound it is, Jesus reminds us, a very dangerous situation. One that puts us in the place of the unforgiving servant of 18.23 ff, a very dangerous place to be for others will notice how we have been treating our brother, and will bring it to the King, who will then extract from us full payment. And, just what do you think you are going to pay him with?
It seems that a person who sins and will not repent and a person who is sinned against, and will not forgive, are in very nearly the same position. The first is a matter for church courts. The second is a matter for The King Himself; and both will bring judgment.Forgivnes