DAILY DEVOTIONS: "Forgive someone" -Mike MacIntosh


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Then Peter came to Jesus and said, "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."
Matthew 18:21-22


Peter was the kind of guy who wore his heart on his sleeve. When Jesus walked on water, Peter was the only disciple gutsy enough to step out of the boat and join Him. When Jesus predicted His own death, Peter actually took Him aside and rebuked Him, saying, "This shall not happen to You!" (Matthew 16:22). 

And when Jesus was about to die, Peter boldly stood up and proclaimed, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" (Matthew 26:35). No doubt, he liked to make a big impression -- but as was the case in each of these instances, he often fell flat on his face.

You can imagine, then, what must have been going through Peter's mind when he asked Jesus how often he should forgive a brother who had sinned against him. "Up to seven times?" he proposed, half to Jesus and half to the disciples, whom he surely knew would be impressed by such a selfless recommendation on his part.

 After all, it's not easy to forgive someone even once, much less seven times. Peter likely expected to hear Jesus say, "That's right, Peter. Very good." But not only wasJesus unimpressed; He shattered the disciples' very idea of forgiveness: "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven."

You see, Jesus was showing His disciples that forgiveness is not something you do, it's something by which you live. It's not a one-time good deed, or a seven-time good deed -- it is a lifelong pursuit. It is a constant commitment to "take up your cross" and follow Jesus; to deny yourself.

Jesus said, "Forgive, and you will be forgiven" (Luke 6:37b). Forgiveness is not easy, especially when you have been deeply hurt by someone. But you and I will never forgive anyone as much asJesus has forgiven us. We will never know the extent of His mercy to "forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9), much less His grace in making us "heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him" (James 2:5). 

If Jesus can forgive us, we can forgive others. 

Today, if someone in your life has caused you pain, let me encourage you to forgive them. Show them the mercy God has shown you. And if you have wronged someone, take the chance to ask forgiveness. May we become people who live to forgive, and who live forgiven.

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