14 day plan

Family Peacemaking

Day 12 of 14

Matthew 18:21-22

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

21Then Peter approached him and asked, “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? As many as seven times?”

22“I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven.

Reflection:  Forgiveness isn’t a guarantee that you won’t be hurt again, and there is no guarantee that the offender won’t re offend.

When God offered us his grace, he didn’t get a guarantee that we would always be better people into the future and that we wouldn’t break his heart again.  I wonder if any of us can honestly say that our actions, behaviours, thoughts and words have caused God no heartbreak and grief from the time we accepted his love and grace until now?  I can’t.  But here’s the thing.  No matter what has happened to you, no matter how or by who you’ve been hurt, if you choose to forgive, I believe God will at least begin the redemptive healing we all long for.  Rather than us attempting to project ourselves with anger and pain, we allow God to protect us with his infinitely more valuable grace and hope instead.

The decision to forgive a family offence or offender, perhaps a serial offender, is probably the hardest choice we will ever make.  Some things seem just too terrible to be forgiven and on our own I don’t think we have either the power or righteousness to forgive very well.  So, when we truly forgive, we make God’s forgiveness our own and allow Christ’s forgiveness to flow through us.

Question:  Is there a serial offender in your life?  What will it take for you to forgive them?  Who can you reach out to for help?

Prayer:  Lord, I need your help with this.  (Name what ‘this’ is and ask for the help that you need).  Draw close to me and comfort me, I pray, amen.

Matthew 18:1-35

Who Is the Greatest?

1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “So who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2He called a small child and had him stand among them. 3“Truly I tell you,” he said, “unless you turn and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child — this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And whoever welcomes one child like this in my name welcomes me.

6“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to fall away — it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea. 7Woe to the world because of offenses. For offenses will inevitably come, but woe to that person by whom the offense comes. 8If your hand or your foot causes you to fall away, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into the eternal fire. 9And if your eye causes you to fall away, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hellfire.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

10“See to it that you don’t despise one of these little ones, because I tell you that in heaven their angels continually view the face of my Father in heaven. 12What do you think? If someone has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, won’t he leave the ninety-nine on the hillside and go and search for the stray? 13And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over that sheep more than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14In the same way, it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones perish.

Restoring a Brother

15“If your brother sins against you, go tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16But if he won’t listen, take one or two others with you, so that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every fact may be established. 17If he doesn’t pay attention to them, tell the church. If he doesn’t pay attention even to the church, let him be like a Gentile and a tax collector to you. 18Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven. 19Again, truly I tell you, if two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.”

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

21Then Peter approached him and asked, “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? As many as seven times?”

22“I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven.

23“For this reason, the kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24When he began to settle accounts, one who owed ten thousand talents was brought before him. 25Since he did not have the money to pay it back, his master commanded that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt.

26“At this, the servant fell facedown before him and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27Then the master of that servant had compassion, released him, and forgave him the loan.

28“That servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him, started choking him, and said, ‘Pay what you owe!’

29“At this, his fellow servant fell down and began begging him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ 30But he wasn’t willing. Instead, he went and threw him into prison until he could pay what was owed. 31When the other servants saw what had taken place, they were deeply distressed and went and reported to their master everything that had happened. 32Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34And because he was angry, his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay everything that was owed. 35So also my heavenly Father will do to you unless every one of you forgives his brother or sister from your heart.”