YOU HAVE THREE GOALS
1) Show me that you understand Matthew’s theme of Higher Righteousness. HINT: WHAT IS THE CONTROLLING IDEA BEHIND JESUS’ SERMON ON THE MOUNT IN CH. 5-7.
2) Show me how Matthew understands the process of forgiveness? HINT: TAKE A LOOK AT CHAPTER 18.
With both of these goals, it might be helpful to use our story structure to analyze the narrative.
Stories begin with a protagonist who wants something: what sort of community does Jesus seek to create? (The Kingdom of God will look like what when it arrives?) This goes to the question of Higher Righteousness.
There are potential obstacles or threats in the way: what type of evil keeps us from participating in God’s kingdom? (Hint: Why does Jesus attack the Pharisees?)
Jesus responds to these obstacles by doing something new: what makes our participation in God’s kingdom possible? This goes to the question of forgiveness.
3) Read the attached article on “The Politics of Forgiveness” and apply what you have learned above about higher righteousness and forgiveness to the following case study: Let’s pretend that for the last few weeks and unbeknownst to you, Sarah has been talking with the other members of the class and putting you down, actually saying really horrible things about you. Maybe she is jealous, but whatever her motive, she has told your classmates that she saw you cheating on a quiz. As a result most of the other students have stopped responding to your posts on the discussion board. One of your other classmates, a friend who knows you are innocent, has just now told you what has been going on.
Okay, given what you’ve learned from Matthew and the article, “Politics of Forgiveness,” what do you do? What steps need to be taken for Christian forgiveness to occur here? CAUTION: BE SURE TO DEFINE FORGIVENESS. IT DOES NOT MEAN OVERCOMING ANGER!