30 Jan Day 7
Scripture: Matthew 18:21-22 NLT – “Then Peter came to him and asked, ‘Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?’ ‘No, not seven times,’ Jesus replied, ‘but seventy times seven!’”
Observation: Jesus calls us to love others, even when we feel wronged. You may be thinking, “I can’t even look this person in the eye or even forgive them once.” As followers of Jesus, we are called to forgive others at the scale that God forgives us – always. Holding a grudge against anyone prevents us from living out that purpose.
Application: I have four siblings, so growing up you could say it was crowded sometimes. At certain points, we even had some of my nieces and nephews living with us. In a house with seven or more people in it, tensions could run high; arguments were a pretty common occurrence. While most were able to be resolved with minimal impact, one example stands out.
A few years back, there was a perfect storm of comments made, voices raised, emotions heightened, and unkind words shared. It resulted in tension like I’ve never experienced and frayed relationships. Afterward, there were weeks at a time when no one would speak to each other. Every attempt at conversation would cause more harm than good. What was once a warm, loving environment had become an icy and hostile one. The division within my family really impacted me. It disrupted my rhythms with God and community; my slot and spot was placed on the back burner and I stopped going to church as often.
The circumstance reached a point that my wife and I, as well as others in the house, began looking for another place to live.
As my wife and I prayed over the situation, hoping for it to be resolved, Matthew 18:21-22 came to mind. It says, “Then Peter came to him and asked, ‘Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?’ ‘No, not seven times’ Jesus replied, ‘but seventy times seven!’” When it comes to conflict or disappointment or unmet expectations, we can sometimes focus on someone else’s actions, inactions or attitudes – all outside of our control. Fortunately, God gives us a tool and an expectation – within our control – to apply in our relationships: forgiveness.
It turns out the root of the problem in our situation was an absence of forgiveness. Ultimately, it only took one person choosing to forgive others to make progress towards a resolution, and unfortunately that was not me. Their courage was the thing that helped bring the situation to an end. Relationships weren’t repaired overnight. It took time for wounds to heal and trust to be earned back, but forgiveness was what started that journey.
Your story may be different and you may not have experienced the reconciliation that I did, but you may have a relationship important to you that may not be in a great spot. God asks us to forgive whether it’s easy or difficult, when it’s convenient and when it’s not, and when it takes seven times or seventy times seven times. Forgiveness isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it in the end.
Prayer: Father, I am so grateful for the forgiveness that you have given me for my sins. I thank you for sending your son to die on the cross to forgive those sins. Help me today to forgive others and show them your love through kindness and serving. Amen.
- Read the Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor in Matthew 18:21-35
- For more encouragement, also read the story of Joseph and the forgiveness and love he showed his brothers in Genesis 45.
- Who is someone that could use your forgiveness? I challenge you to pray over that person and ask Jesus to help you love them. Then, I challenge you to rectify the situation and forgive them.
- Or, Is there someone you’ve wronged, who’s waiting for you to make amends? Again, pray over this issue and reach out and make right of the situation.
Matt Griffin/Journey Students Team Leader, Evening Program Class of 2021
Matt came to The Journey about six years ago when his brothers invited him. After gathering for a while, he felt a nudge to lead in Journey Students. This experience has been rewarding for Matt as he finds encouragement watching the next generation grow in their walks with Jesus. Matt also serves on the Worship Team where he helps create an atmosphere for people to experience Jesus.