Refusing to forgive someone is like drinking poison and hoping it harms the other person.
Live your life in such a way that you don’t have to carry around that burden any longer.
Years have now passed and the men who once sat gathered around the shade tree have grown old.
While they were once young, vibrant and full of life, the years have had their toil on them and they start to see the twilight of their lives.
Several of them have written accounts of their time with the teacher.
The tax collector did and was certain to include the story of that day under the shade tree.
The fisherman has spent the last 40 years or so travelling and building communities around the teachings of their teacher. He’s had very little time to write.
None of the men had any clue as to what the future would hold when they first followed the teacher. They had no clue that within three short years he would be captured by the religious authorities, be accused of heresy and sentenced to execution by the Roman authorities.
They were certain he was ready to lead them to a revolution to overtake their oppressors.
While his fellow student’s heart was filling with joy and compassion, this second student’s heart began to fill with questions and frustration.
He was a fisherman by trade and in his heart. He worked hard manual labor every day before the teacher called him.
He had given up a lot to follow this teacher and he had stood by and watched as the teacher called others to follow him — including this tax collector.
Like the tax collector, he made the connection.
He knew exactly what the teacher was saying. As he looked at the tax collector and saw his past and knew how much the teacher loved and cherished him.
It’s a hot afternoon in Jerusalem.
A group of men are sitting under a shade tree listening to their friend and teacher share his teachings.
The teacher’s quite fond of telling stories and today isn’t any different.
Growing up around Jerusalem they’re each familiar with farmers and shepherds and so the teachers asks, “If someone has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders off, doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine and go after the one? And if he finds it, doesn’t he make far more over it than over the ninety-nine who stay put? Your Father in heaven feels the same way. He doesn’t want to lose even one of these simple believers.”
A pretty powerful picture for a group of men who had grown up with perhaps a slightly different take on farming.
After giving them a second to think on the story, the teacher continues, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”
The men smile at each other and nod in agreement.