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16 December 2016

Friday 16 December

[Matthew 18: 21-35]

Fit for the Kingdom

There has been a lot of talk about what it means to be a UK citizen, and what the requirements should be for new citizens. It is generally agreed that those wishing to become residents should learn about the customs and history of the country and be ready to accept its laws in their lives. As I know from personal experience, some people come to this country as refugees, seeking safety and freedom. They long to let go of their burdens of suffering and fear, and embrace a system of government which can sustain them in liberty. And they have no desire to bring the conflict of their old life into the new.

How do we approach the Kingdom of God and his gracious offer of citizenship? The constitution and laws of his Kingdom are rooted in love, truth, justice and generous forgiveness. He offers those to us, and if we want the health and freedom of life under his rule, we must be ready to live according to the laws which are for our health and for the health of the whole community. If we carry burdens of hurt and unforgiveness, those must be handed over. The forgiven slave in today’s parable, who continues in the old ways of greed and coercion, has no part in the new order.

May we learn the health-giving release of forgiving others, and so become fit for the Kingdom. Citizens of God’s Kingdom are forgiven sinners who also forgive others as they have been forgiven.


For further reflection, please read Tom Wright – Advent for Everyone, A Journey Through Matthew, pages 82-85