Over on the One Year Bible Quaker group, I've posted tomorrow's readings (1/29)
with some early Quaker quotes courtesy of the wonderful Quaker Bible Index. It looks to be a good reading: Moses continues to tell the stubborn Pharaoh to "Let my people go," Jesus talks about the wisdom of children and gives his famous parable about camels going through eyes of needles.
But right now I'm still reading 1/28's passages, especially Matthew 18:23-35
. I'm struck afresh by Jesus' story of the debtor who is mercifully forgiven a great sum by the King but then goes on to hassle someone who owes him a comparatively trivial amount. When the king heard he summoned the ungrateful debtor and "delivered him to the tormentors." Jesus summed it up "So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."
This is hard stuff for me. Philosophically I believe forgiveness is a good principle, sure. But on the ground, it's easy to stay up late at night replaying old scenes of betrayal, deciding between friends and not-so-much-friends, and worrying about possible conflicts. But Jesus is really clear that this forgiveness stuff is non-negotiable. It's there in that model prayer he gives us, "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." There's a quid-pro-quo in this: God forgives us for all the many things we've done and all we have to do is forgive one another the little slights of life.
A lot of the New Testament teachings seem to call for us to rise above our small-scale pettiness and individual circumstances to see as Jesus sees. We too should carry the cross and we too should intercede with God to forgive those who know not what they do. Lord, give me strength to put aside my worries and sleepless nights and find the peace that comes with forgiveness.