Matthew 18: Cutting and forgiving

There are two things to touch on in today’s readings.

First, there is the matter of cutting off hands and gauging out eyes. Many have wondered at the apparent viciousness of Jesus’ teaching in this section of scripture, and indeed what he is teaching us about sin here is quite dire. But consider what he is saying about sin in these verses. Jesus is conveying to us that harbouring sin is a very serious matter, a serious enough matter to consider getting rid of the part of yourself that is the source of the sin. There are several things in modern day Christianity that fall short of Biblical standards, and our treatment of sin is one of them. We certainly don’t take sin as seriously as the authors of scripture warn us to take it.

Sin is deadly. Scripture is plain about that. Having it in our lives is contrary to God’s will for us.

The second thing that I would mention is forgiveness. This is another area where most Christians fall short of the Biblical standard. This is another section of scripture reminds us that we are to forgive with the measure that we have been forgiven. Failure to do this cheapens God’s grace for us because we are not willing to pass that grace on to others. I once read a commentator who said that we have the idea of grace and mercy wrong. We assume that we as individuals are the recipients, the end target of God’s grace when in fact God’s grace is a mighty river that we are all standing in, where it flows to us but then past us onto the next person. When we fail to forgive, we are refusing to pass the grace given to us on to another person. The parable of the wicked servant is a powerful illustration of this truth.

Happy reading

  • What was familiar from this passage of scripture? What was something I already knew?
  • What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
  • Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
  • How does this passage apply to my life, here and now? Do I need to do anything about it?
  • What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?

Tomorrow’s Reading: John 7-8

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