THE KINGDOM RESTORED THROUGH FORGIVENESS
Some of you may remember longtime news anchor Howard Beale in the 1975 classic film Network shouting: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” In fact, you may be one of thousands upon thousands of people, acutely angry at their lot in life… governmental and societal discrimination and injustice that seems to favor some but has left others, like yourself, in a no-win situation.
This morning I would like to suggest that the most hot-tempered among us are in good company as far as the New Testament is concerned. Peter was angry enough to slice off a Roman soldier’s ear and shortly thereafter began swearing up a storm about his lack of involvement with Jesus (Matt 26:74). James and John, nicknamed the “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17), were mad enough to call down God’s wrath on their opposition (Luke 9:54). Another disciple was of the violent, revolutionary party of zealots (Luke 6:12-15).
Even Judas’ betrayal must have been spawned by misunderstanding, hurt, and then incendiary anger (Luke 6:16). Meanwhile, Jesus tried to get his hot-headed disciples to consider the palliative effect of forgiveness (Luke 24:33-34)…a type of forgiveness that keeps on forgiving (Matt 18:21-22). Whenever anger is chosen over forgiveness it results in unnecessary pain for all parties (Matt 18:23-35). Failure to forgive always comes back to haunt us eventually (Luke 6:37-38).