Sunday, September 17, 2023

A Sunday Sermon

The Gospel this morning focused on debt, sin and forgiveness in the form of a wicked servant who owed his king the vast sum of 10,000 Talents and was forgiven, only to throw a man into gaol (debtors' prison) who owed him a far smaller sum. The king was justly furious and threw the wretch to the jailers till he should "pay the last penny." This, of course, he could never do.

We get the point of the story on a purely human level, the behavior of the servant "just ain't right." In spiritual terms? How can we,  who owe such a weighty debt of sin to God and have been shown such merciful love by Him, turn 'round in vindictive, merciless fury on people who owe us so much less in comparison.

You don't need to be a world class ethicist to work it out, it just ain't right. And Christ warns us, unless you forgive your neighbor from your heart you'll be thrown into the prison of Hell. That sounds harsh but divine math is clear; a person who harbors merciless, vindictive wrath against another person has no place in paradise. Love and hatred cannot coexist.

So forgive, 70 x 7 or go to Hell. Does that mean we have to like or condone the behavior of people who grievously offend us? By no means, their actions may well be unconscionable and I do not say that lightly. But even so, banish hatred and merciless anger from your heart, it is toxic, poisonous, and utterly incompatible with God and heaven. So hard to do! Especially if we've been on the receiving end of evil, but do it we must. I find this helps, you may too. 

Start with God, reflect or meditate on his person, on his perfection, and on Christ, his character, teaching and, above all, what he has done for us, how he has given his life on the cross that we, utterly unworthy, might be forgiven.

Stand in humility before God, in the humility from which contrition and mercy flow, which in their turn drive out pride, hatred, malice, hardheartedness and a vindictive spirit, all the non-qualities abhorrent to God. Then offer the person or persons who have offended you to Christ, praying that his good will may be done in them. 

Well done, you've made an act of love for the person who's sinned against you and in the process opened yourself up to be a channel of his love in the world.

Having done that, pray fervently that Christ will grant you a forgiving heart. He will hear that prayer, made sincerely, and with it we will be forgiven as we forgive those who trespass against us, and find the gates of heaven opened. Yes, even to us who are not worthy ut intres sub tectum meum .

Here endeth the Lesson,



Postscript, via Kobiessi Letter:

The U.S. Now Has:

1. Record $17.1 trillion in household debt
2. Record $12.0 trillion in mortgages
3. Record $1.6 trillion in auto loans
4. Record $1.6 trillion in student loans
5. Record $1.0 trillion in credit card debt

The average house payment is about to hit $3,000/month for the first time in history.

All as oil prices are up ~40% in 3 months, mortgage rates hit 7.5% and credit card rates are at a record 25%.

Borrowing more debt is not the solution to high inflation.

This is unsustainable.

Who will forgive this debt? God?  The bankers who issued it at interest? But who cares, maybe it'll all magically disappear and everything will be trans unicorn bathrooms and rainbows forever as we live into our stunningly brave new secular utopia where the debtor will never be punished by their bankster gaolers. Sure, go right ahead and believe that, and good luck to you.


Well Seasoned Fool said...

Wow! Made me rethink a few things.

Ed Campbell said...

It is difficult but I do try to forgive others, most especially after they have been held accountable and to be thankful even for the little things. Being thankful is a lot easier than forgiving. Maybe I come by it naturally since the clan motto can be translated with very little modification as "hold a grudge". I do thank you for the sermons; have gotten a lot of value from them.

Debt is bad and I try to avoid it at all costs but the system tries to suck you in. Consumer protection is much stronger if you use a credit card than a debit card or cash so one must have to find the discipline to pay the card off each and every month.

drjim said...

Thank you, Parson. Made me put a different spin on "Hate the Sin, But LOVE the Sinner". I guess forgiveness goes with love.

Wild, wild west said...

Proverbs 22:7 - The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.

WEF 24/7: You will eat zee bugz, own nothing, and be happy, pez-ant!

And yes, my comments do miss the central point of The Rev's homily. Something about love your neighbor even as you love yourself, yes?

LL said...

It would be nice if Jesus Christ returned and dealt with this. Absent that, I don't see much of an exit strategy.

Dad of Six said...

I like the artwork at the top. I want to say Caravaggio, but maybe not.

glasslass said...

If any of that comes due or collapses the 2008 collapse will look like a small bump in the road.

LSP said...

I was preaching to myself, WSF. And I think God does the heavy lifting but we have to point ourselves in the direction. Regardless, "forgive," easy to say, eh?

LSP said...

Glad it was helpful, Ed. And it's tremendously important -- Christ is clear, forgive or go to Hell. Of course this isn't to be confused with condoning wickedness...

Secular debt, at interest? I avoid it like the plague and prefer cash on the nail. But it seems that option's becoming increasingly difficult and I saw it in London/UK earlier this year where a lot of places won't accept cash. Welcome to the brave new world.

LSP said...

It surely does, drjim, and let's not forget love's an act of the will (will the good for another).

LSP said...

Wild, I'd say your comment's right on target, such behavior is "abhorrent" to God (Ecclesiasticus et al.)

There was a reason(s) usury was frowned upon along with serving Mammon.

Curiously, Mammon's been seen as an especially English demon!

LSP said...

I hate to say it, LL, but yes. And what's that saying? "The problem with debt is that someone always wants to be repaid." Something like that.

LSP said...

Same here, DOS, but it's not Caravaggio. More like Rembrandt but not by him either, perhaps Willem Drost?

The painting's in the EXCELLENT Wallace Collection in London, which is very much worth visiting. What an outstanding little museum.

LSP said...

Exactly, glasslass. And with LL, what's the exit strategy? Press the magic mouse button at the Eccles building and print moar money? Maybe hyperinflation's the strategy. I don't se this ending well either.

And let's not forget, it's all a larf until you can't pay the army and the cops.

Paul M said...

It’s [too] early Tuesday…away from the homestead so sleep is often sketchy. Wandered across the blogoshoere to see what you blessed us with…perfect reminder (more than that of course) to how we are to conduct ourselves on our journey to edge just a little closer to Him, both spiritually and physically as it relates to the debt that we all pay and the price Christ already paid. Thank you for this…and comments above are spot on.

LSP said...

Ah, Paul, it's most definitely a matter of grace. And thanks, very appreciated.