4. The Church is where you’re forgiven and can forgive.
Then 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?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:22-35
The point that Jesus makes about forgiveness is simple — you don’t keep track. It would be weird to forgive someone and then shout “You're on forgiveness number 68, you only have 9 times left, choose wisely!” Seriously who would keep score? No one does, not even God. Scripture says that He removes our sin as far as the East is from the West and that He is eager and willing to forgive if we seek Him out.
The idea behind forgiveness isn't a record of wrongs, but making sure we have the right relationship, with God and with others. The Church is the perfect place to be reminded of this, to model it with others, to receive forgiveness an unlimited amount of times.
Let me say it this way: Perhaps the most radical thing you can do is to forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it — in fact, that’s the approach God took with us
Key Truth: The Church is where you’re reminded that you’re forgiven, and where you’re encouraged to respond to others with forgiveness.
There is no place in society other than the Church where all of the ideas and lifestyles are not only encouraged, but can be applied in a healthy way. Of course, there are people in the church that don’t embody all of these, but many are striving to do so, and you may be one of them. There is no healthy way to do any or all of these without the body of Christ spurring us on to do so. All of these, without the motivation to glorify God and to do them for the good of others, can become vain and conceited ways of living a morally good life. But with Christ, practiced with other Christians, they become a steadfast and influential way of showing God’s Kingdom on Earth right now.
So, if you’ve walked away from the church, I hope you’ll return, as it’s the only place you can experience a taste of what God’s Kingdom is like, and see how the people of God represent Him. The Church is where God will one day return to hopefully say to us all “Well done, good and faithful servants.”
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