Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Today’s Scripture Focus: Matthew 18:23-35
We are focusing on sin recovery principle number eight of 12: “We made a list of all persons we have harmed and are willing to make amends.”
Did you know that you could harm someone by harboring ill feelings toward them? So many of us have imprisoned a deadbeat dad, ornery neighbors, disrespectful children, and others that have offended us. We have locked them up in prisons of un-forgiveness and thrown away the key. The problem is wherever we have imprisoned people that have hurt us, we become their cellmates without even realizing it, and we will rot there together unless we change our ways.
More than a pleasant thought
Forgiveness comes by divine order and through the power of God. It is not a principle that we can take lightly. The Bible says that all of us have sinned against God, and the penalty for sin is eternal death. Therefore, if you are sharing in this devotional thought with me, it is apparent that God has extended divine forgiveness to you. Dead people cannot read devotions. Having received forgiveness from God when our sins were the cause of Jesus’ death is reason enough for us to be gracious and forgive people who have hurt us.
This seems simple enough until we recount the many ways people have offended us. Spouses have abandoned us. Armed assailants have shot, stabbed, and beaten us. Societies have subjugated us. The media has mischaracterized us. We have been spat upon, lied to, and downtrodden. Yet, these difficulties pale in comparison to the things we have done to the God, who created us.
Freed From Grudge-Bearing
How do we reconcile this? The Bible says that God will forgive us in the same manner we forgive others. So, really there is only one thing we can do. We need to ask God to help us appreciate His mercy so much that we would not even consider holding a grudge against a fellow human being. The blessing in all this is that living by this principle is so far outside our capacity to accomplish that God has promised to provide supernatural grace for us to do so. With God in our corner and His Spirit empowering us to live according to Christ’s example, we can do all He has commanded. We can free those who have hurt us from their prisons, and as a result, we can also be free.