Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Daily Devotional: February 17


Week 4, Day 3, The Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter 18

There was a tradition among some Rabbis in the first century to limit the number of times one should forgive someone for the same offense. Some said three, some said four, some said five times. In today's reading from Matthew, we see Jesus take a completely different approach. As is His custom, Jesus uses a story to illustrate His point. 

Jesus tells His disciples they should forgive someone who wrongs them up to seventy-times-seven times. This was an expression that meant "over and over again." Jesus is proposing unlimited forgiveness. He is showing the heart of God to the disciples. 

Over and over 

If forgiveness is limited, then our grace towards someone who wrongs us is allowed to run dry. In the Kingdom God is ushering into the world through Christ's life, Grace is never running dry. We are to forgive without limit, with no strings attached, because that's the way we have been forgiven.

Over and over

In the parable of the unmerciful servant, Jesus tells our story. A man, having been forgiven an enormous debt by the king, leaves the throne-room and immediately holds another person to the standard from which he had just been released. He probably thought the king's brand of forgiveness wasn't "practical," or "real-world," enough for him. We often say we believe in Jesus up to the point of actually doing the things He says to do. 

Over and over

You've been forgiven, and you will be forgiven. No matter what you have done, no matter what you will do, the One you're hurting is forgiving you. Grace never runs out. Never. No matter what you think, say, or do, it is forgiven. Becoming aware of this should make us change. Becoming aware of our forgiven nature should lead us to pass the kindness we have been freely given to others. It feels good to be forgiven, and we should strive to give that gift to others. 

Sit in the knowledge of your forgiveness for a moment. Praise the fact you've been forgiven over and over and over. Let it make you a gracious person today. 

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A follower of Jesus, trying to build myself and others up from the inside out.