Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity 2017
October 22, 2017
Old Testament Lesson: Job 24:1-17
Epistle: Ephesians 4: 17-32
Gospel: Matthew 9: 1-8
The world is full of wicked men. Many people in our culture and society think that we should be near some sort of “Star Trek” society – where if we just united as “one people” across the world, all the problems would cease. The nature of man precludes this possibility. Pride, self-righteousness, and anger prevail in men’s hearts without the Word of God. Over 5,000 years of traceable human civilization proves the point – men do not change; though we have amazing technologies and philosophies. Man is a corrupt being.
What, then, are we humans to do? As Christians, we have learned and know that the ultimate “law of the universe” is to love God with all our being, and the second law is to love our neighbors as ourselves. We accomplish the first by doing the second. How, though, should we “love our neighbor”? Providing for their needs and every day kindness qualifies in part, but we must go deeper in shining Christ’s love.
Our epistle from Ephesians reminds us of man’s corruption and that the Christian response is to turn away from sin to the Spirit of God and to act wisely, kindly, and lovingly to our neighbors, speaking truth, and living in concert with one another. Paul states, “let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.”
The basis of loving one another is forgiveness. We must push through our pain and sorrows to forgive those who have wronged us. If we do not, we face the difficult reality of disobeying our Lord. He clearly states: “When you pray say… forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” When we forsake forgiveness, we hang on to anger and hatred. We cannot truly live freely as Christ’s own when we ignore do not offer His love for others as expressed in forgiveness.
Our primary duty in sharing God’s love is to be forgiving. What better way to highlight the Gospel of Christ than to model God’s forgiveness in our own lives. Stand strong. Ask God to forgive you for any hatred you’ve been harboring, and forgive those who have offended you.