Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly. Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged. Colossians 3:18-21
Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, “Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.” And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, “Pay back what you owe.” So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, “Have patience with me and I will repay you.” But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. Then summoning him, his lord said to him, “You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart. Matthew 18:21-35
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
We continue with our Devotional set for this week and our focus on the role of forgiveness in relationships. We noted yesterday that the primary source of tension in relationships comes from the fact that people at their core are selfish. We want what we want and we want others to do what we want. Forgiveness is the key to overcoming selfishness in relationships and relieving these tensions. Each day we are looking at a passage of Scripture that connects us with one area of relationships. We are also looking each day this week at a portion of a story of Jesus about forgiveness.. The setting for forgiveness in relationships we are looking at today is the family.
When we stop and think about it, “relationships” are more important than anything in life. Just consider for a moment what was accomplished by the provision of redemption through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God was providing the means by which we could be restored to an intimate love “relationship” with him. Without a relationship with God, life is broken and all is lost. But with a relationship with God comes the glorious adventure of knowing him and living fully for him. With our relationship with God restored and at the very center of everything, we go forward in the adventure of seeing all relationships being restored and transformed.
Our Colossians passage is pretty straightforward as it lays out before us the Divine imperative for “the family.” The imperative society gives us is quite different from this one. Yes, the man (husband and father) in the imperative of this Scripture is front and center. He is front and center, not because he is superior or in control, but rather because God gives to him responsibility for the family. It his leadership that will provide the guidance necessary for his family to live fully for God. When all is said and done he is the one who will give an account for what has transpired in his family.
Fulfilling his leadership role well will come about as his own vibrant connection to God leads the way for his wife and children having vibrant connections with God. As in all relationships, selflessness and not selfishness must prevail. It his selfless love, devotion, and sacrifice for his family that will make all the difference. Only his selfless love, devotion, and sacrifice for God will make it possible for him to extend these same gifts to his family. From this will come a family setting where all participants can readily follow his lead and go forward with the imperatives of today’s Scripture fulfilled in beautiful and lasting ways.
Integral to these healthy patterns of family life are healthy patterns of forgiveness. Our Matthew 18 passage is all about forgiveness. While each day we are considering only one portion of the story and one setting in which relationships take place, the whole story is for all of these relationship settings. In today’s portion of Matthew 18 we see the relationship of a king and one of his slaves. If nothing further happened in our story after today’s portion, we would look at it as a great example of a problem in a relationship being worked out. Person #1 has fallen short and person #2 is aware of it. Person #2 confronts person #1 about it. Person #1 asks for patience from person #2. Person #2 has compassion on person # 1 and extends total forgiveness. Even though our story takes a turn after this portion of it, in and of itself, this is a great example of forgiveness at work. When relationships between family members are filled with large doses of patience, compassion, and forgiveness, you can be sure it will be a healthy family with healthy relationships.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, thank you for the wonderful relationship with you that is mine through Christ. Continue to make this connection strong so that all my family connections can be blessed and strengthened. Guide my life toward greater correspondence to the imperatives of your word. Thank you for the abundance of patience, compassion, and forgiveness you have extended to me. Fill my heart and those of my family with patience, compassion, and forgiveness. I love you, Lord, and am so grateful for the hope and promise that lie before me with all this. Amen!
Posted on Tue, March 12, 2019
by Ken Hart