Today’s reading: Genesis 19; Matthew 18; Nehemiah 8; Acts 18
In Matthew 18 Jesus tells a story of a King who calls to account his people, finding among them a debtor. The debtor unable to pay. His sum too great to bear; he begs for mercy promising to pay all. The King moved, forgives all and sets him free. What a beautiful story.
Until one day some of the King’s servants bring report of a great atrocity. The debtor had been found giving no mercy to those who owed him little. Upon receiving this report the King seized the debtor and handed him over to the tormentors. What a shame.
Had the debtor not received mercy to extend on? Had his debts not been forgiven? Should not margin abound so that he could extend mercy too? It does not make sense to me why he would act this way. Perhaps, could he have had trouble receiving the freedom? Could it have been because he didn’t really believe he’d been forgiven that he turned so ruthlessly in the shadow of his great grace to collect? How could this be? What a tragedy. He had it all!
I recall the first time I read the Parable of the Prodigal Son and realized who I was in the story. It hit me quite hard. So hard I had a defensive response to laugh at my grand oversight. I suppose it was one of those ‘laugh or cry moments’ and I took the weaker way, not wanting to face straight on to wretchedness deep in my heart.
The Bible is full of lessons for us that come through stories. When we read of a protagonist, let us not be too quick to say, ‘that’s me alright’, but instead might we say “how can I become more like them”? When we read through the proverbs let us not be too quick to give ourselves a pat on the back that could end up deep in our hearts. Let us be careful what we believe for out of our hearts’ come the issues of life. More still, when we read of an antagonist let us not be too quick to dismiss; asking from the outside looking in saying ‘how could they?’ Instead, let us look from the inside out and say ‘how could I have?’ Then we go deeper. What is God teaching us? Who are you in the today’s story?
Oh God please forgive me of my wickedness, would You? LORD that I would even notice offenses towards me from others, which are so little and insignificant, within the shadow of Your beautiful and perfect and steadfast forgiveness of my great wickedness, pains my soul. God if you leave me to myself I will continue in my wickedness. Oh God, would You please rescue me from myself? God would you please help me extend a measure of the Grace You afford me for Your Namesake? God would You please be gentle with me for I am weak? I ask this in Jesus Name. Thank You God! You are good and worthy of all praise! Amen.
From today’s reading, after the king receives the tragic report:
Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. – Matthew 18: 32-34
From Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount:
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. – Matthew 6:12
The first thing Jesus Says after the Sermon on the Mount:
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. -Matthew 6:14–15
On the benefit of believing and understanding the gravity of the truth; that we are who God says we are: sinners deserving of all tournament; and that God is who He says He is: our Redeemer; and that Jesus can do what He says he can do: save us.
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; -Ephesians 3:8