of whom the world takes little notice. Though there was no other clarification, the conversation setting must have referred to those apostles and disciples who were standing there listening to Jesus.

 Using the word condemned means that we need to be very specific. It is important to note that they who are yet condemned by human sin are not without rescue. Rebuke of the sinner, followed by forgiveness of a repentant offender… or any unbeliever or back slider… can be approached by any Christian. A new starting line suddenly appears.

Jesus shows us therefore, the principle of God being generous in forgiving others.

 From his example, we can see the patience of the divine. If we are disappointed by the lack of response to the gospel message, we are to be overly generous in abiding a waffling response. This is the only right path for disciples who have themselves been forgiven. The bible lesson explains that the apostles may have felt that this kind of abundant forgiveness would demand more faith than they had. Indeed, this type of forgiveness is not a legal act, but an act of love.

 I’ve seen that type of love. You see, that ‘58 Oldsmobile was my father’s car. He was the master, and I was the servant. How many times afterward that I drove his car I can’t remember. How many times did I forget to clean the car afterward or refill the tank with gas…. I don’t know.

 I do know however… that my father was a very forgiving man. Maybe seven times… but likely a lot more.

 Jesus gave examples of the growth to expect, not for cleaning up after yourself, but for the explosive

Divine Patience...

Sweet days of youth! Dad drove a ‘58 Oldsmobile that harbored a “J-2 Rocket 88” engine under the hood. The engine sported a cast iron intake manifold topped with three, 2-bbl Rochester carburetors feeding nearly 400 cubic inches of V-8. Even in the heavy Olds that was fitted with a front bumper that tipped the weight scale over three hundred pounds, the rear tires would curl smoke when all three two-barrels opened thanks to their progressive accelerator linkage.

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