The way of the world, and the easiest way indeed, is to keep a very accurate record of everybody's sins but our own. We tend to downplay our own faults, but talk through every detail of everybody else's.
In verses three and four of chapter 17, Jesus keeps our involvement in other people's sins to a bare minimum. "If your brother sins, rebuke him". He spends many more words and explanation on forgiving. The opening phrase to these two verses sums up the key thought, "Pay attention to yourselves!"
We should not concern ourselves too much with the sins of others. Peace, love, and unity will be more quickly achieved if we simply forgive. There is a time for rebuke, but even when we do, are we ready to forgive if our brother or sister repents? There is far too little loving rebuke and godly repentance in the Church, because condemnation and pride so often well up and take their place.
The Dong Church is still in its infant stages. So few have believed, and fewer still have grown into the full knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Just like the rest of us, forgiveness is not a worldly value, and it certainly does not come naturally to the Dong people. We value our rights; we value tradition; we value what works...or what we think works.
As the Dong watch the Jesus Film and begin to internalize the Word of God, let us join in prayer that the Lord will reveal these concepts, which at first seem to contradict common sense, as the only path to peace on this earth. Pray not only that Christians will be choosing the path of forgiveness, but that non-believers will see how different these Christians are and themselves desire to have that same peace and love.
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