Monday, September 28th, 2020
Peace with others
Loving others brings God’s peace
Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times? Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22
Please read Matthew 18:21-35
As we venture down the peace journey road, we are now focusing on what we can do to help bring peace with others. Here is a simple statement, but yet is exhibited and taught in profound ways throughout Scripture: loving others brings peace. Over the next five days, we will discuss five different ways in which we can display God’s love to others so that the end result is a peaceful relationship. One of the hardest and most selfless ways to give love is through forgiveness.
What is forgiveness? It’s something we have all been given by Christ, yet sometimes, it’s something that seems so difficult to grant others. I think there are many misconceptions about what forgiveness is and what it isn’t. I googled some information about Biblical forgiveness and found a list that certainly helps my understanding on this subject. I included just one (although there are many) passage that supports each statement below. Look these up to see what God’s word is telling us.
What forgiveness does NOT mean:
Condoning the offense (Isaiah 5:20)
Pretending that the offense never happened (2 Samuel 12:9-13)
Allowing others to take advantage of you (Psalm 37:21)
Pardoning with no valid basis (Proverbs 28:13)
‘Forgiving” every perceived slight (Ecclesiastes 7:9)
We see in our passage today how important forgiveness is to Jesus. In his parable he talks about a king who had granted mercy towards a servant who owed him an enormous dept. The twist of the story is that this very same servant turned around and denied mercy to his fellow laborer whose debt was not near the amount that he himself had owed the king. When finding out this information, the angered king spoke, “Should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” (v. 33). May these words of Jesus pierce our own heart. What we have been mercifully given, we must through Christ, turn to give our brothers and sisters, and even to our enemies. But how do we do this when it’s difficult ?
Remember what forgiveness involves. Look at the above list and know you are not condoning the wrong or acting like it never happened. You are simply choosing to let it go. What are the advantages of forgiving others? Forgiveness can actually help keep us calm, improve our health, and increase happiness (Proverbs 14:30; Matthew 5:9). Even more important, forgiving others is a key to receiving God’s forgiveness for our own sins (Matthew 6:14,15), and described in our passage today, it’s part of our obedience. If that’s not enough, remind yourself of the words of the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:12).
Is there someone you need to forgive? Ask the Lord to put his extreme grace and his abundant mercy inside of you. He is your experienced helper in this very hard task. Realize that “not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die” (Unknown). But, the reward of granting forgiveness is peace within your own heart as well as peace with others. It’s time to put the poison down; get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Instead, choose to be a loving minister of God’s peace… be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:31-32).
For further reading: Matthew 5:9; Ephesians 4:29-32; Luke 23:34.
Dear Heavenly Father,
You word is so rich with direction in how we are to live out our lives as believers. We are grateful for what You command us to do as we know it is always what is best for us. Even more, we are grateful we do not have to do it all on our own. You gave your life for us and left us with the gift of Your Spirit to guide us in every step we take. Empower us today to put down the hurt and forgive those who have trespassed against us, just as we have been forgiven by You. Amen