Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. [Matthew 18:21-22]
“A Bad Dream”
“DAD how dare you look in my diary?” Max screamed at his father in fury. Chuck was red with anger at his little boy for what he read in that diary.
“How dare you lie to me? You said you would never smoke a cigarette and right here in this diary, you confess you have. Your promises are no good to me now Max!” Chuck yelled at his young son.
“Well my privacy is ruined. How I can ever trust you again!” Max said crying.
“Me? Its you who lied and I can never trust you again. I wish I never had a son.” Chuck said and right away he was sorry he said that. Max burst into tears and ran out the door to go down the block to his friends house to hide.
Chuck slammed his hand down on the counter and hurt it. He hated fighting with his son. Parents hate it when their children are mad at them. It hurts them way down inside but sometimes they are proud and don’t know how to make things ok.
“That kid drives me crazy.” Chuck fumed thinking of what he read in that diary. “Let him go. I will just take a nap.” And with that Chuck laid down on his sofa and went soundly to sleep.
Chuck woke up suddenly and looked around. It wasn’t his bedroom but some other place. He was on a flat white stone sleeping and there was no furniture and everything was dark all around him.
“Fluffy, where are you fluffy?” Chuck heard a familiar sound.
“Grandpa?” Chuck said as the elderly man walked past him looking for his dog. He said curious of how this could be considering Chuck’s grandfather went to be with Jesus long ago.
“Why hello little Chucky, are you ok?”
“Yes Grandpa, just didn’t expect to see you. Where are we?”
“Well I am in heaven. I am looking for our dog Fluffy. You remember Fluffy? You loved him so much. Well he is here now and he still likes to run away. Where are you Fluffy! Say, I am not sure why you are here. Is something wrong Chucky?”
“Well I sort of had a fight with Max and I guess that is on my mind. Oh yeah, Max is my son, your great grandson. He looks a lot like you Grandpa.”
“Aww, well I am sure he is a spark plug like you and your dad were growing up. Listen, the only regret I have from my life is that I went to heaven with some people who had not forgiven me. You probably don’t know this that when I died, I was not speaking to your mother, my daughter. It was something silly now that I look back on it but I wish I had apologized and got past it so I could have hugged her before….”
“Oh there you are Fluffy. Gotta run now. I have to get Fluffy home. Grandma is waiting supper on us.” Chuck’s grandfather said and then he was gone. Chuck didn’t know exactly what to make of it when he looked up and a large powerful man walked past him as he sat on the slab. The man walked like he had someplace important to go and did not look to the right or left.
“Dad?” Chuck said with amazement. The big man stopped in his tracks and looked at Chuck curiously.
“Son? Is that you? What are you doing here? Wait a minute. Are you asleep?” The big man asked.
“Well no Dad. Well, ummm, yes, I think so.” Chuck confessed.
“I thought so.” Chuck’s deceased father said with his big barrel laugh. “Ok spill it, what did you do wrong. When you were a kid, you always took a nap when you had done something wrong.”
“Well, it’s Max. He and I had a fight. I read his diary which was wrong but found out he lied to me which made me really mad and now I can’t forgive him.” Chuck told his father, the one guy he could always talk to.
“Chuck do you think you have ever been forgiven?” His Dad asked.
“Well, by you maybe, a few times.”
“Try 10,316 times Chuck. But that’s not what I mean. Who forgave you of everything and made it possible for you to go to heaven?”
Chuck thought for a moment and then he remembered his Sunday school classes when he was a child. “JESUS. That’s it isn’t it? He died on the cross so I could be forgiven.” Chuck said with excitement for getting the right answer.
“That’s right Chuck. God forgave us all of lots worse things than Max has done. And if He was willing to give his life for our forgiveness. It’s the least you can do to forgive Max, ask his forgiveness too. Do it now son, before it’s too late.” And with that Chuck’s dad stood and began to fade out.
“Wait dad, I wanted to ask you about how to build a shed.”
“No time now son. I have to go. Have you seen your Grandpa? He just stepped out to walk Fluffy.” And he was gone.
Suddenly Chuck woke up with a start. He realized he was home now but the visits from his ancestors had not been for nothing. Suddenly he heard the door to the house open. “Max is that you?”
Max entered the room looking very sad and staring down. Chuck stood up and put his hands on his shoulders and just said, “I’m sorry.” To stop themselves from crying (which men don’t like to do), Chuck and Max hugged and Chuck knew he would never let some little issue come between him and his son again.
“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.
When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” [Matthew 18:23-35]
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