Read thru the New Testament 2018
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids
Bible Reading: Matthew 18:21-35
Have you ever been hurt? A divorce. An unfaithful spouse. A trusted employee stole something. A friend turned on you. All sorts of thoughts of vengeance and revenge run through your mind. But that’s not what God wants. He expects you to give forgiveness. Someone has said that forgiveness can’t change the past…but it can change the future. And there is one thing that I will guarantee you…if you don’t forgive…that unforgiveness will change you. It will rob you of your peace. It will rob you of your ability to relate with people. It will rob you of God’s blessings. It is so important that Jesus says that when we are unwilling to give forgiveness…God considers it to be an act of sin and will judge us for it (:35). Don’t let unforgiveness hide in your heart. You may have tried to stuff it down. To pretend that it’s not there. But the Holy Spirit knows and if you will honestly pray and ask Him to reveal any unforgiveness that is in your heart…be ready, because He will do so. Then, do something about it. Forgive. Forgive the person who hurt you. And, ask God to forgive you. It is such a wonderful feeling of release when your heart is no longer bound by unforgiveness.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
Years ago, two teenage boys from New York City robbed a YMCA. As they ran out of the building they saw a man sitting behind a desk at the telephone switchboard. They thought that he had seen them committing the crime and was calling the police. They grabbed him and beat him terribly using brass knuckles and a black jack. They beat him until they thought that he was dead. Then they drug his body behind a heating radiator near the swimming pool and ran.
Later that evening, a woman was walking by the pool. She slipped on something and looked down. It was the man’s blood. She screamed and then she saw his body. The police came and were able to revive him and he lived. However, one eye was beaten so bad…that it had to be removed. His name was Donald Tippet.
Not long after the two teenagers were caught and brought to trial. This wasn’t the first time that they had broken the law and it was almost certain that they would spend a long time in jail. But Donald Tippet did an amazing thing. He asked the judge to allow the two teenagers to be paroled into his charge. Despite what they had done…he wanted to give them a second chance. He believed that they could change.
The judge granted the parole. One of the boys blew it. He committed another crime, was caught, and this time he went to jail. However, the other boy realized that he had been given an opportunity that few people get. He went to college, graduated, and then went on to medical school to become a surgeon. And guess what kind of surgeon he became. An eye surgeon.
A reporter wrote an article about Donald Tippet and the forgiveness that he had given to the two teenagers. Writing about the teenager who became an eye surgeon he said, “I wonder if he ever performs one of those delicate eye operations without thinking of that night in the YMCA, and the young man whose confidence and forgiveness changed his life!” Forgiveness.
Jesus was teaching the disciples about forgiveness. Peter had a question. He asked Jesus how many times he had to forgive his brother if he sinned against him. I’ll bet that made his brother Andrew think, “What’s he talking about? Peter asked, “Would seven times be enough?” The Rabbis (Jewish teachers) generally said that we should forgive someone three times. So, Peter probably thought that it sounded pretty good when he suggested seven. But Jesus knew that Peter wasn’t being completely sincere in his answer. He was really just trying to appear to be super spiritual. And, the truth of the matter is that Peter, despite the fact that he had greatly increased the number of times that we should forgive someone, was nowhere near what God expects from us. Jesus said that it wasn’t seven times…but seventy times seven. That’s kind of like saying a “jillion” times. In other words, there should be no end to the number of times that we are willing to forgive someone. And get this…
- our forgiveness is not based on how many times it happens;
- our forgiveness is not based on whether, or not, the person is willing to accept our forgiveness;
- our forgiveness is not based on whether the person is sorry for what they did;
- our forgiveness is not based on whether the person promises to never do it, again;
- our forgiveness is not based on if we feel like forgiving the person.
Our forgiveness is based on God’s forgiveness. We are supposed to forgive those who sin against us, just like God forgave us. And what does it mean to forgive? It means that we don’t hold the person responsible for what they did. It’s like erasing the words off of a chalkboard. They’re gone. When we forgive someone…whatever they did…is gone. That’s the way God does it and that’s the way we are supposed to do it. Why is forgiveness so important? For several reasons…
- It is in keeping with how God behaves…and as His followers, we should behave in the same way.
- It provides an opportunity for the person who did wrong to find forgiveness and to experience a change in their life.
- It opens the door for you and the person who hurt you to renew your relationship.
- It keeps anger, and resentment from building up in your own life and causing more problems for you.
- It is a testimony to other people of God’s forgiveness.
Wow, did you know forgiveness could do all of that? Jesus did. And that’s why He said that it is so important. Give it some thought. Is there anybody who has hurt you…that you need to forgive? If there is…do it now. Don’t wait.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,