JANUARY 26 READING…Matthew 18
Chapter 18 is filled with Jesus’ teaching for us. He calls us to be humble as a little child when it comes to the things of God. Humility is not seen in thinking too much of ourselves…nor is it found in thinking too little of ourselves…it is found in not thinking of ourselves at all. Pride is the opposite of humility…and pride is THE thing that will cause us to miss Jesus…because pride will not allow us to be properly responsive to the Lord. Jesus gives a dire warning to those who might lead the innocent little ones to sin…He tells them it would be better to have a stone tied around their neck and to be thrown into the depth of the sea. The Lord takes sin seriously…clearly much more seriously than does the world, and even many in the church. Sin, and leading others into sin, is never a small thing with God. God sees, and God knows. It is because of sin, and for we who were lost in sin, that Jesus came. The whole message of the Gospel is that Jesus came to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. He came, “to seek and save that which was lost”. He cares about us as individuals created in the image of God…the Lord cares about your soul. It is the purpose of the coming of Jesus the Messiah, and His substitutionary atonement on the cross, to reveal the will of God that none should perish.
Jesus continues to teach us concerning how we are to deal with others. Specifically, in today’s passages about dealing with one who might offend us…and about forgiving others. If we are offended we need to be able to express that to the offender…our intention for doing this is for the purpose of reconciliation, not for the purpose of becoming the victim. Victimization seems to be a virtue in today’s society…in Christ we are to move past the place of becoming a perpetual victim. By reconciliation if possible…but if that is not possible to move on in the Lord, trusting Him with the unrepentant offender. In other words, we are to put both the offender and ourselves in the hands of the Lord…trust Him with the whole situation. Peter was concerned about what Jesus meant with the matter of forgiveness. I know both he, and we, are a little more than surprised with Jesus’ response. He teaches us to keep on forgiving. Jesus then gives an illustration of how forgiveness works in the Kingdom of God. If we want to experience God’s full forgiveness, we are required to forgive others. You see, we must always remember this truth…no one has ever sinned against us the way we have sinned against the Lord. Yet we expect the Lord to forgive us…Jesus said because that is true we must also forgive others. For me, when I have trouble forgiving others, I ask the Holy Spirit to remind me of where I was when God found me and forgave me of my sin. Then I ask Him to give me that kind of forgiveness for others.
Please share your thoughts from today’s reading.
TOMORROW'S READING…Matthew 19