Jesus was explaining to Simon Peter that the number of times we need to forgive one another is just arbitrary. It’s not about keeping a score card on that other person…for the act of forgiveness not about them at all. Forgiveness stems from the unlimitless capacity to forgive that Jesus first showed us while we were still sinners. So as Christians, we are compelled to show each other the same kind of forgiveness…for forgiveness comes out of love for the Lord and each other. The act of forgiveness is for our benefit, not others. For if we allow unforgiveness to fester inside, blame escalates, and with it, growing bitterness, which leads only to spiritual blight.
In the Parable of the Sower, the seed (the Word of God) is sown among the thorns…obstructing its growth. When as a Believer, we don’t see fruit in our lives, we need to be asking ourselves – “What’s distracting me from God’s plan and purpose in my life?” The world’s frenzy is enough to distract us from what really matters, so we need to prioritize everything by these categories: God first, family next, world last. Distracted faith is as bad a luke-warm faith…it’s a unfruitful faith that God can’t use.
Jesus Christ came to earth and died on the Cross to fulfill the demands of the Law. He freed us from the impossible observances of those Laws…giving us instead His perfect Law that offers freedom from sin and guilt. For anyone who puts their faith and trust in Jesus…the old Law-keeping vanishes, as the new covenant is activated in their heart.
Over the last years, the world’s moral pendulum has swung far off-center. What was once considered wrong, is now accepted as the norm. What was once thought as unethical, is now touted as chic. We are constantly being bombarded by commercials and advertisements that tell us how to think and act if we want to be accepted…but they are usually contrary to God’s Word. Psalm 94:21 tells us that the wicked will band together against the righteous. The evil world’s way of thinking doesn’t have to seep into your life and mind… for God is greater than any evil that may come your way…offering wisdom and happiness in place of misery and suffering.
The persistent crowds followed Jesus wherever He went…pressing close and clamoring for attention. But in this Scripture we see a completely different picture of the Lord. He’s holding little ones on His lap…taking the time to hug and cuddle babies and toddlers…seemly unaware of the crowds around Him. Jesus was practicing the gift of unhurried joy. Of taking the time to show someone just how important they are with no regard to time, schedules, or deadlines. Our greatest gift to someone we love, is unhurried time with them…calm, peaceful, focused time – not glancing at our watches or phones, but rather at them. Who in your life today needs to receive the gift of your unhurried time?
Early in His Ministry, Jesus returned to His home town of Nazareth. There, He practiced the Ministry of Staying Put. Many of us rail at that Ministry, for we’d rather be used in the far-flung reaches of the world than to be utilized by God in the place we were born and raised. Just this past Sunday in Church I heard of an opportunity to go on a short-term mission to Guatemala to work in an orphanage of shunned and outcast children with handicaps and congenital defects…and my heart went out to them and their suffering. Does this mean I will go? That’s entirely up to the Lord, and I leave it in His hands. For my mission may be to remain where I am, touching the people around me… in the town where I was born and raised.