Idolatry: Refusing to Forgive

Posted on May 15, 2021Comments Off on Idolatry: Refusing to Forgive
4Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is One.

(Deuteronomy 6:4). God is One. This is a spiritual reality that does not align with human wisdom.

30I and the Father are one.”

(John 10:30). Even separated, Jesus says the persons of God are one.

7If you had known Me, you would know My Father as well. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”
8Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
9Jesus replied, “Philip, I have been with you all this time, and still you do not know Me? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 

(John 14:7-9). Jesus Christ says that those who saw Him had also seen the Father.

26Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness, to rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, and over all the earth itselfd and every creature that crawls upon it.”

(Genesis 1:26). God is one…and ‘us—’ Father, Son, and The Holy Spirit.

All this to say, humankind is part of God’s creation. I am not God. None of us are. And, in Leviticus Chapter Twenty-five, the sabbath discussed is a great reminder that I need to rest from every single effort to be God—whether in the judgment of others or by judging myself.

8And you shall count off seven Sabbaths of years—seven times seven years—so that the seven Sabbaths of years amount to forty-nine years. 9Then you are to sound the horn far and wide on the tenth day of the seventh month, the Day of Atonement. You shall sound it throughout your land.
0So you are to consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty in the land for all its inhabitants. It shall be your Jubilee, when each of you is to return to his property and to his clan. 

(Leviticus 25, Berean Study Bible). Releasing myself from the work of idolatry—trying to find any god but God—allows me to set other people free from my expectations. I’m set free.

“Seven times seven” in verse eight of Chapter Twenty-five of Leviticus reminds me of “seven times seventy” about forgiveness in Matthew Chapter Eighteen. Peter tries to limit forgiveness, and Jesus Christ blows up the box that would house forgiving others. Instead of allowing our fallen nature to make forgiveness easy and limited, the LORD tells Peter that His generous foolishness is greater than our impoverished wisdom. Grace allows seventy times seven instances of forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-22).

Because Jesus is our Sabbath, counting off “sabbaths of years for yourself” is a way to acknowledge what God has provided.

25He was delivered over to death for our trespasses and was raised to life for our justification. 1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we havea peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

(Romans 4:25; 5:1-2). God the Father sent Him, and LORD Jesus laid down His life for us to have forgiveness.

1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2Jesus invited a little child to stand among them. 3“Truly I tell you,” He said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me.
6But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
7Woe to the world for the causes of sin. These stumbling blocks must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!
8If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than to have two hands and two feet and be thrown into the eternal fire. 9And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
10See that you do not look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of My Father in heaven.  12What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? 13And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices more over that one sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish. 15If your brother sins against you,c go and confront him privately. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, regard him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. 18Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19Again, I tell you truly that if two of you on the earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. 20For where two or three gather together in My name, there am I with them.” 21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22Jesus answered, “I tell you, not just seven times, but seventy-seven times!e 23Because of this, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24As he began the settlements, a debtor was brought to him owing ten thousand talents.f 25Since the man was unable to pay, the master ordered that he be sold to pay his debt, along with his wife and children and everything he owned. 26Then the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Have patience with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27His master had compassion on him, forgave his debt, and released him. 28But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii.g He grabbed him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ 29So his fellow servant fell down and begged him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you back.’ 30But he refused. Instead, he went and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay his debt. 31When his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and recounted all of this to their master. 32Then the master summoned him and declared, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave all your debt because you begged me. 33Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had on you?’ 34In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should repay all that he owed. 35That is how My heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”  

(Matthew 18). This story concerns being forgiven and refusing to pay that grace forward. The point of the next is prophetic as well as revelatory.

 40But Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
 “Tell me, Teacher,” he said.
 41“Two men were debtors to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,e and the other fifty. 42When they were unable to repay him, he forgave both of them. Which one, then, will love him more?”
43“I suppose the one who was forgiven more,” Simon replied.
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44And turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give Me water for My feet, but she wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You did not greet Me with a kiss, but she has not stopped kissing My feet since I arrived. 46You did not anoint My head with oil, but she has anointed My feet with perfume. 47Therefore I tell you, because her many sins have been forgiven, she has loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
48Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49But those at the table began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50And Jesus told the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” 

(Luke 7). Jesus answers the question about His identity as One who answers faith with forgiveness: I AM…your Savior. And the prophecy in that is, When we follow after Him, part of the burden (the Cross) of that is forgiveness—forgiving and saving others from our condemnation.

Without letting go of what we’re owed, we live as idolaters in pride, judging others. Without trusting that God keeps no account and remembers our sins no more, as children of God, we’re like the prodigal son’s brother—the one who is accepted in the Beloved, but feels like an orphan (I Corinthians 13:4; Isaiah 43:25; Hebrews 8:12; Luke 15:25-31).

When I forgive as I have been forgiven, and when I rest from working to be forgiven in my Sabbath, Jesus Christ, I stop trying to be God.