How many times do you want God to forgive you?

March 11, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
(Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV))

Have you ever truly thought about this passage?

It almost sounds like Peter was looking for an “exit strategy” on forgiving others. To be honest with you, most people are probably looking for a count after which they can say that they have forgiven someone all that is required. In other words, Peter was asking if he had reached the maximum number of times that he needed to forgive someone.

Now come the tough questions.

Have you ever felt like you have forgiven someone as many times as you possibly could?

Is there someone whom you just don’t want to forgive?

What did Jesus tell Peter?

I honestly think that Peter was surprised at the answer that Jesus gave him. Peter was a down to earth person and did not mince words. Some would even say that he was rough around the edges. In his lifetime, just as in ours, he probably had someone who took advantage of him or mistreated him on numerous occasions. Perhaps Peter had grown a little callous and was looking for a way to justify his thoughts. Perhaps he was simply asking a question that had been burning inside of him.

We don’t really know exactly what Peter was thinking, but the answer that he received made him realize that forgiveness is a never ending process. I am thankful that it is.

We are to forgive as we are forgiven!

Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
(Matthew 6:12 (NIV))

I want you to honestly answer a question.

How many times do you want God to forgive you?

Is it only seven?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Wash and be cleansed

February 1, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, `Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
(2 Kings 5:13-14 (NIV))

How many times have we been like Naaman? We want to do God’s Will. We want to live like God would have us to live. We want to be touched by God and anointed by God. Yet, in our desire to have God touch us, we overlook the simple and Godly touch because in our minds it is not grand enough to be from God. We miss the blessing because we are looking for signs, wonders and miracles.

It took Naaman’ servants to point out that if he was willing to do something grand if God asked him to, why would he not be willing to do something simple? I think that human nature gets in the way of far too many encounters with God because of this very attitude. We either see ourselves as much greater than the simple tasks or we see ourselves in so much sin that we think a tremendously large task will be needed to save us.

If you stop to think about it, Naaman is foreshadowing what we must do to accept grace and mercy through Jesus. We think that simply calling upon Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior is far too easy to gain us redemption. We expect to have to perform some huge undertaking to prove our worth. God sees it differently for He knows that we cannot perform any great undertakings because of our sin. He had Jesus perform the greatest task when He died on the cross for us. He had Jesus perform a salvation earning task when He was raised from the dead. To each of us, God is calling. He is saying that it is easy. Follow a simple plan by accepting Jesus and then we, too, can do what Naaman did – “Wash and be cleansed!”

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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