A blessed Monday morning to you all! The readings for this Sunday are Matthew 18:21-35; Romans 14:1-12; Genesis 50:15-21; Psalm 103:1-12.

A note from the Lutheran Study Bible says, “The blessing of forgiveness is the defining gift of the Christian Church.” And that is no understatement. To take that idea one step further, the defining mark of a Christian is two-fold: you are forgiven, and you are a forgiver of others. The readings for Sunday revolve around this deeply personal theme of forgiveness. Jesus uses a parable to show that God’s forgiveness knows no limits, so neither should ours (Matt. 18). The story of Joseph shows how a right relationship with God is essential to our own ability to forgive (Gen. 50). And in a throwback to last Sunday’s lessons, St. Paul urges us to welcome the weak in faith and not despise or judge them for their weaknesses (Rom. 14). Finally the Psalmist says that God’s forgiveness – unlike our own – is always perfect and final. This is a great comfort for those of us who struggle with letting go of past grievances (Ps. 103).