Time Alone With God daily devotionals

Time Alone With God daily devotionals

By Pastor Phil Stout

Read: Matthew 18:21-35

Matthew 18:21-35

New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[a]

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[b] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[c] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Consider: This parable speaks about the times when forgiveness is required for the big sins that have been perpetrated against us. The debt that the servant owed to his king was a debt so huge that he could never repay it. But in this parable Jesus also addresses the small sins that we must forgive and forget. The fellow servant owed his friend just a few bucks. It should not have been a big deal.

That’s pretty descriptive of our lives. While there are times when we need the Holy Spirit to empower us to forgive in heroic ways, most of the time we need to have the integrity, discipline and self-control (which also come from God’s Spirit) to forgive the small indignities of life.

So I think we need to see forgiveness as a lifestyle. That’s right, a lifestyle—part of the ebb and flow of everyday existence. Remember, Jesus said, “seventy times seven” (18:22).

I often say that if we’re going to be friends for any length of time, we’re going to have to forgive each other repeatedly. Most of the time we’ll need to forgive without being asked. We’ll need to overlook one another’s flaws, understand each other’s bad days, and give grace to each other when we struggle.

I think that’s part of the beauty of The Lord’s Prayer. It’s not a prayer that is intended to be prayed once in a lifetime. No, it outlines the manner in which we should pray every day. For just as we’re taught to pray for “daily bread” (6:11), we’re taught to pray for daily forgiveness and for grace to forgive every day.

What a great way to live!

Pray: “Lord, today is another day in which I will have the opportunity to be like you. You are the One who forgives. Give me the grace today to forgive others as you have forgiven me. Help me to forgive the small mistakes of others that complicate my day. Help me to learn how to forgive the great injustices I’ve endured. And teach me how to forgive myself.”

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