Wednesday Devotional – September 9, 2020
“Jesus said, “for this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves… So, the slave fell on his knees before the king…. And out of pity for him, the lord of the slave released him and forgave his debt.” [Matthew 18:23, 27]
The parable of the unforgiving servant follows Peter’s question to Jesus, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive him?” The disciples, along with Peter, are pondering in this chapter, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” But the disciples make a fatal error in asking of Jesus this question about forgiveness, for they assume the kingdom of heaven is like the kingdoms of this world. Jesus unleashes a barrage of teachings that make it abundantly clear that the kingdom of heaven is different. The kingdom of heaven is like a king who forgives a slave of a ridiculously large debt. Yes, forgiveness is to happen “not seven times… but seventy-seven times.” Yet, we all know that forgiveness even once is hard work. So, what might Jesus be trying to teach us about the kingdom of heaven? In the words of Brennan Manning, “It is all about grace.” Community is only possible when grace abounds, when forgiveness is practiced, and a new way forward is forged. This isn’t a one-time effort, it takes continual effort, seventy-seven times effort, to build a beloved, grace-filled community.
God of grace, your mercy is new every morning. Yet, I admit that grudges take root in my life from wrongs that have been perpetrated against me. I find it hard to let go and to forgive. Even though I know I get a fresh start every morning by your grace. Teach me to embody your grace as I seek to be in community with others. Amen.