Thursday, October 6

Stop the spread!

Scripture: Ezekiel 5-6, Matthew 18

Matthew 18:31–33 When the other servants saw what had taken place, they were deeply distressed and went and reported to their master everything that had happened. 32 Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’

Observation

When Peter asked Jesus how often he must forgive, Jesus blew his mind! Jesus said we should forgive every time—without limits—and then told a story to illustrate how much God has forgiven us. A man owed the king an unpayable debt—10,000 lifetimes of wages—which the king generously forgave just because the man asked. But that same man refused to forgive another who owed him 100 days wages. 

Two things of note today:

First, I noticed that the man’s refusal to forgive “deeply distressed” others. When I refuse to forgive, it not only affects me and the person involved, but others around us as well. Unforgiveness and bitterness is a poison that pollutes everyone nearby. You may think it’s just between you and that person, but don’t be fooled. It will ripple out to affect everyone in your circles. What starts as a personal feud may soon become familial, tribal or national. Stop the spread!

Second, I noticed the king’s desire that we have mercy on others just as God has had on us. Simply put, whenever I notice a flaw in others and am tempted to judge (or punish), I must remember that God has seen all my flaws and generously forgiven me. Then out of that awareness, I must extend the same mercy I’ve received. Freely you’ve received; freely give.

Application

Simple and straightforward: forgive! Offer mercy! Every time…because God has offered it to you in spades!

I can’t afford not to forgive. It’s way too costly—for me, for the other person and for everyone around us. Stop the spread! Forgive now!

Prayer: Lord, help me be as merciful as You. Give me a generous, merciful, forgiving spirit…like You.