19 BSF Matthew Week 19, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

I worry about being taken advantage of.  We live in a world full of warnings to “keep up your guard.”  We are told to be careful, diligent, cautious.  “There is a sucker born every minute.”  Don’t be a patsy, an easy-mark.

Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.

Peter’s question is not unreasonable.  There have to limits, right?  There have to be boundaries.  If someone wrongs us, they have to pay.  How many times must I offer forgiveness to someone who repeatedly transgresses against me.

I’m guilty of this mindset.  But it is a mindset of limited resources and God is a God of Unlimited Grace and Provision.  Jesus helps put this in perspective.  We are focused on the equivalent of 100 silver coins.  We seek justice for a transgression of 100 silver coins.  But God is dealing at the level of 10,000 bags of gold.

Since we don’t deal much in actual silver and gold, I looked it up.

A US Silver Dollar (1878-1935) is worth about $15.50 in silver.  So 100 silver coins would be worth $1,550.

During the gold rush, a bag of gold held approximately 25 pounds.  Assuming bags have traditionally been about the same size, a bag of gold at current market value would be worth a little over US $500,000.  So, the forgiveness of the King was to the tune of US$5,062,000,000.  $5 Billion Dollars.

In God’s economy, the things we worry about someone taking advantage of us over would get lost in rounding.  If I spent more time and effort protecting my heart and my eyes and those I love, that would be a far wiser eternal investment than protecting worldly possessions.

My only appropriate response should be one of thanks to God and modeling the grace and mercy that He has shown me.  When we pray for God to forgive our sins as we forgive others, the forgiveness we show others is the measure we are asking Him to use on us.

My Answers:

12.
a.
how many times must I forgive my brother = maximum number of time I can ask for forgiveness.  If 7, then…

b.
Law of Lamech or Lamech’s curse was a distortion by Lamech for a rule of  vengence.  Jesus turned these words into a rule of forgiveness instead.

13
a.
Sins of others to me are miniscule compared to forgiveness I have received.  10,000 bags of gold vs. 100 silver coins

b.
Lord’s prayer, forgive us our sins as we forgive others

c.
As I forgive and seek to truly hear others and simply listen, I find myself in a better place, one where I feel more forgiven

d.
Thank you for being God.  Thank you for being the almighty and being patient with me.  Thank you for being the shepherd to come and hunt me down when I repeatedly go astray.

19 BSF Matthew Week 19, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Being a member of the body of Christ is not a life of diplomacy.  Diplomacy is all about building a coalition.  It is about operating from a position of strength.  It is about dealing with others in a way that doesn’t hurt their feelings.

We like diplomacy.  You’re OK, I’m OK.  Can’t we all just get along?  Personal freedom.  We take these words and stretch them into excuses to avoid confrontation.

When we do need to confront something, we start by building our coalition.  Recruiting others to our side to present a position of insurmountable strength.

But this is all wrong.  If a fellow member of the body of Christ is sinning seriously against another, I am called to approach them individually.  Listen to that again.  I am called to approach them individually.  Not to discuss it first with a bunch of different people to build my coalition. Not to ignore it and hope it goes away or somebody else deals with it.  Not to just accept it and avoid conflict.  I am called to approach them individually.

I don’t like that.  I don’t really want to do that – I like conflict avoidance.  But I don’t need to worry or avoid this.  First, the entire responsibility never rests on me.  If the person doesn’t listen to me, then we simply advance to step number 2.  There is no huge burden or failing on my part, it just moves to include 2 others.

Even then we still don’t need to worry.  The promise about binding and loosing isn’t just a grant of authority to us as the church.  It is also a reminder that when we are gathered prayerfully with 2 other believers to trust in God fully, then Jesus is there and God’s will is being done.  Anything we do is only what God has ordained and allowed.    I need not worry or feel burdened if I rely and trust on God whole-heartedly.

I still don’t like it, but Jesus didn’t like being tortured and put to death for my sins either.  That helps put it in perspective.

My Answers:

9.
a.
All parts form one body.  If one part is honored, all rejoice.  If one part suffers, every part suffers.

b.
1. approach individually, 2. approach with 2 others along, 3. approach with and through the church, 4. if not, remove from the congregation until they repent and change ways

10.
a.
Compassion and love

b.
To win them over, to bring them back into a state of not sinning

11.
a.
Bind as in a binding contract.  Loose as in to set free from bondage.  We can set people free from sin and bind them to an inheritance of grace through faith

b.
through Jesus Christ – wherever 2 or 3 gather in His name, He is present.