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Accountable for the Choices we Make

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Accountable for the Choices We Make
I read a great story while preparing this message. There was a man who was walking home from work. It was a beautiful day, the sun shining, the birds chirping. The man was enjoying the peace of the natural noises around him. Out of know where, he feels a sharp pain on his right ankle. A stray dog was locked on. Using his briefcase as a hammer, the man franticly fought the wild beast off his ankle. It felt like as though his whole world had been flipped upside down. What in the world, how, oh my gosh. The man was beside himself. Now, that the destroyer had run off the man continued on his way home. Limping along now, his mind replaying the event in his head, he made it to his home. He set his things down in the entry and made his way to the bathroom to administer some first aide. The wound was deep, the dog had broken the skin. All the man could do is put a temporary bandage on and head to the doctor. At the doctor’s office they stitched him up and ran test for rabbis. While running the test, it came back positive, the dog had rabbis, and passed it along to the defenseless man. There were no vaccines for rabbis, the doctor would have to break the news to the man. There was nothing left to do but just wait it out. The doctor composed himself and let the man know the terrible news. The doctor told him, we will do all we can to make you comfortable during this time. The doctor left the room to allow the man to process the news. He was shocked. He didn’t move. He just sat quietly taking it all in. After allowing it to settle in for an hour or so the man got a pen and a pad and began to write. The doctor returned to check on him. Seeing him writing the doctor said, “Oh good, you are writing your will.” The man looked at him with a confused look. “No, this is a list of all the people I am going to bite before I die.” he said. I don’t know what is more of a shame the fact that the man would die or the fact that vengeance was his last will on this earth.
We should all understand that we are accountable for the choices that we make in this life. In our text today, we are going to look at . 21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Wow, Peter, he is making some great grounds following Jesus. You may not realize this but it seems like he is really becoming more generous. A kinder gentler person. I mean, most Jews, even people of the law, such as the Pharisees and Sadducees, they say forgiving someone 3 times, is a fair amount. Peter, is not only doubling that, he is using the number of completeness. You can really see the shift in Peter’s thinking now that he is learning under Jesus. Oh, Jesus is about to answer him. Let’s hear what he has to say. 22Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. Wow! Can you believe the forgiveness of that king? This man had so poorly managed the king’s resources, that he had a debt, that was greater than all the money that would flow through the entire kingdom for years to come. Think about that 10 thousand bags of gold. Is that even an amount that can be counted? How could this man even rack up that kind of debt? It is great that he offered to pay it back but seriously! There is no way in his life or his children or his children’s children life that they could payback what was owed to the king. But did you hear, what the king said at the plea of his servant? He cancelled his debt! All of it and let him go. Now, that is a man who has a new look on life. 28 But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29 His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ 30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. No, no, no. Why, would he be so foolish. Doesn’t he get it? Doesn’t he understand? We are all accountable for the choices we make. The king, just poured out his mercy on him, and now he does this. His own debt was unpayable. It was going to cost him and his family. They were about to be sold into slavery but upon his asking for pity, the king lavishly cleansed him of all the debt. This was an act of pure mercy. Why, would he go from receiving that act of love to destroying one of his brother’s lives? The amount owed was minimal in comparison to what he himself had been forgiven. The king displayed a new way of loving our brothers and sisters. How could he be so blind? He knows that we are all accountable for the choices we make. 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. I don’t know what you are thinking or how you feel. Some of us are thinking, “Good, he got what he deserved.” Others may be confused and questioning “Why, couldn’t he change? Why couldn’t he see the fresh start that was given to him?” I know that I have been that servant. The servant who was shown mercy and given grace. Then I turned around and instead of be patient with someone who made a mistake or needed more time to get something done. No, I got angry. I raged in and removed them from my presence. I have been the one to receive mercy and not give it to the next brother or sister in need. Jesus isn’t finished with the story, there is one more line for us to hear. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” I hope I see it. I hope you see it. I hope we all see, as sons and daughters, we have all been forgiven a debt we cannot payback. In order to receive this forgiveness, in order to fully enjoy this mercy, I too, have to give it, to those who don’t deserve it. Not just to save my own neck. I have to do it for real, from my heart. When I began this story, there was a man who was making a list, on his list was names of those he would get his revenge on. I’d like us to take a page from his story, let us too write a list. Go ahead, pull out your pen and paper, your tablet, or your phone. Get a blank space to write on. Instead of those we will get revenge on, let it be a list of those we will forgive. As you forgive each person on that list, cross them off, delete them, and remove the debt from your life. As we go from here, remember we are all accountable for the choices we make.
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