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You've Won the Forgiveness Lottery. Now What?


Based on the gospel passages that have been assigned the past couple weeks, I've been saying that "when it comes to forgiveness, we have hit the lottery."

Last week's gospel in particular reinforced this point: Jesus giving us a parable about what the Kingdom of Heaven is like, and saying it's like someone (and that someone is you) who owes 6 billion dollars begs for mercy and not only gets mercy, but has it all forgiven. 

So why would that someone (you), when running into someone else who owes a 6 thousand dollar "debt" (offense, sin) refuse to forgive that relatively smaller amount? You're a freakin' billionaire, many times over, when it comes to your own being forgiven, but you're keeping tabs, refusing to forgive a relatively small amount owed you?!?

You've won the forgiveness lottery.  Be abundantly generous with forgiveness, just as God is and has been abundantly generous with it toward you.  

Now what? 

When it comes to the "now what," there's something I've noticed --

Whenever someone starts taking Jesus seriously on the idea that when it comes to forgiveness, we've it the lottery - one of the first things we think is,

"I don't deserve it."

"Given what I've done - am doing, even - I don't feel I deserve God's love and forgiveness."

Well, here's the good news:

You don't.

You don't deserve this mercy. I don't deserve this mercy, that's for sure. No one deserves this mercy.

None of us deserve this mercy. None of us deserve this grace, this forgiveness.

 So -- in a sneak preview of this Sunday's sermon -- repeat after me: 

1)    God is not fair; thanks be to God.
2)    Thanks be to God, God is not fair!

Yes, it is true that neither you nor I deserve God's grace, forgiveness and mercy.

And yes, it is also true that you and I have it anyway. God is not fair; thanks be to God.

This point practically explodes off the pages of the gospels. Recall Jesus' call of Zacchaeus, Jesus' parable of the prodigal son , and see this upcoming Sunday's gospel.  

God is constantly giving us more than we deserve, and even more than we desire. 

Thanks be to God, God is not fair.

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