24 November 2013

Upside-down and Inside-out

S: Matthew 18:23-35 NLT

“Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt. “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full. “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.” 

O: Today, I could see that the first debtor could have been motivated powerfully to unforgiveness by his fear of the King. He wanted to extort the smaller debt so he might make a payment on what he owed. And yet, God doesn't work the way men do. Instead of profiting, Himself, from His own grace, He wants us to pass it along without reserve to everyone else. 

A: What ways have I profited by God's grace in my life? How might I have kept that back from His children? How can I extend it more liberally?

P: Dear Father, thank You so so much for Jesus. Thank You for the wonderfully upside-down way You work . . . the turning inside-out of man's reason and prudence that opens a path back to You. Please, do show me Your ways. Keep on tutoring my heart and mind, and show me how better to love those You place around me. I love You very much, and I love Him in whose name I pray, Jesus Christ. Amen. 

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!