Pressing “Reset”: The Truth About Forgiving (The Gift of Forgiveness Part One – Matthew 18)

TIME TO HIT THE RESET BUTTON - BRIAN HOUSAND, PH.D.

The most powerful weapon in my gaming inventory is not what you would think… it isn’t some rare sword that I found while exploring a forbidden cave or even a rocket launcher that shoots five projectiles simultaneously… it’s something much simpler yet much more potent than any in-game weapon I can find. This weapon gives me the power to essentially rewind time after a mistake and put all the pieces back where they originally were WHILE getting the benefit of learning from my error at the same time. Nothing else I carry can freeze my enemies in their tracks and give me a second, third, or even fourth chance to try again. Sure, it may mean I have to build back up to where I originally was, but this time I get to do it from a position of knowledge. You may have guessed my game-breaking superpower by now… it is the reset button.

If all the sh!t in the world is about POWER... - GIF on Imgur

I have had the unfortunate need to press this button MANY times… many times it was because of dialog choices I had made in the game that changed the way a character viewed me, damaging our relationship and resulting in a different path than the one I would have preferred. In the original “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic” game I had a moment where I chose a dialog option that resulted in half of my party turning on the other and a fatal fight breaking out, leaving me with only half of my team to finish the game. Horrified, I literally jumped from the couch and reset the game to prevent this horrific future from being permanently saved. When I reloaded my game, everyone was still alive and none of them were aware of what had just happened… and that clean slate of forgiveness was such a relief that I just sat there holding my controller for several minutes in appreciation that my terrible mistake did not ruin the game.

We all get to this place in our games in a variety of ways… perhaps it was through a mistaken conversation choice like my KOTOR fail. Sometimes it is because we didn’t listen to the instructions within the game and got ourselves in a position where we are in over our heads, under-equipped and under-prepared for the situation we find ourselves in. No matter how we get there, the ability to push the reset button is a powerful ally, giving us a chance to start over again. And I will let you in on a little secret…a REAL reset button exists in our real world. But… there is a catch. We cannot reach our own reset button. Someone else must press it for us, and in return we can press the reset button for others. Sound crazy? Maybe it is… but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

Children: Jesus forgives Peter (John 21:15-19) — St Alban's Anglican Church

Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

This is a pretty well-known verse, but its application is a little less universally beloved. I mean, if we are being honest with ourselves, we tend to enjoy the RECEIVING of forgiveness much more than the GIVING of it. But the power to reach out and press the reset button for others isn’t just something that is nice to do on occasion… it is in the fine print of the forgiveness that we ourselves enjoy freely from the Father.

Matthew 18:23-35 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant | Tabletalk

This is as challenging as any parable that Christ shared… and He puts the ball squarely in our court as it relates to this “reset button” reality. That last sentence captures the entire parable… “So My Heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses”. We control the reset button for others, giving them an opportunity to try again with a fresh start… the same way our Father has forgiven us. We have the privilege, the responsibility, and the expectation to forgive others and press reset for them. How many times? As many times as we wish to be forgiven ourselves. Is it hard to do? Absolutely… and just like pressing the reset button in a game there is progress that is lost that must be rebuilt. But it is when we provide an open path of reconciliation through forgiveness that we are at our most “Christ-like”… which is kind of the point of being a “Christian” in the first place.

NES Replacement Power & Reset Switch – RetroFixes

In this new year, we have an incredible power if we choose to use it… the power to press “Reset” for those who have hurt or disappointed us and need to be given a second chance, a third chance, or if I did my math correctly a four-hundred and ninetieth chance. Those who are sincerely repentant and seeking our forgiveness are stuck and unable to move forward until we use the power that Christ has given us set them free… let’s make today the fresh start that they need and allow them to finally advance in their story as well as ours. It is through the Christ-like act of forgiving others that we not only set others free, but we set ourselves free as well. There is a reason the power and reset buttons are connected… He gives us the power so WE can press reset for others. How many times? As many times as it is needed. Let’s use that power and press reset for someone today 🙂

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