Count it all joy when you face various trials. --James the brother of Jesus

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Be Reconciled

I led the devotional at work again yesterday morning before letting our guests come in to eat. I shared from the parable of the unjust steward:
Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. "Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, 'Pay what you owe.' So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you.' He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?' And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."
(Mat 18:21-35)

As I read Olasky before beginning the job, I found that in the earlier days of American charities one of the first steps to helping someone would be to find out if they had either family members who could take them in, or a connection to a church that could bear the responsibility for them. Today that kind of investigation seems foreign. It's like meddling in someone else's life, and it will often be received as unwelcome. I have already found that some who I have spoken to have families, they just don't get along with them--too many restrictions, or relational conflicts. So that's why I chose to speak on the unjust servant. I pressed the point that if they refuse to be reconciled to family, and hold bitterness in their hearts, it says something about where they stand with Jesus. Not that forgiving can somehow earn Christ's favor, but that when we have been forgiven our hearts should be changed such that we will forgive others. Also, I understand that this is not perfect, for we still all fall in many ways, but it should be an area where believers are convicted to submit to if there is any level of resistance present.

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