Morning Reading for July 21

Matthew 18:21-35
Suggested further reading: Romans 12:9-21

The Lord Jesus lays down the general rule that we ought to forgive others to the uttermost. He does so by giving a reply (v. 22) to Peter's question (v. 21). The rule laid down here must, of course, be interpreted with sober-minded qualification. Our Lord does not mean that offences against the law of the land and the good order of society are to be passed over in silence. He does not mean that we are to allow people to commit thefts and assaults with impunity. All that he means is that we are to study a general spirit of mercy and forgiveness towards our brethren. We are to bear much and put up with much rather than quarrel. We are to overlook much and submit to much rather than have any strife. We are to lay aside everything like malice, strife, revenge and retaliation. Such feelings are only fit for heathens. They are utterly unworthy of a disciple of Christ.

What a happy world this would be if this rule of our Lord's was more known and more obeyed! How many of the miseries of mankind are occasioned by disputes, quarrels, lawsuits and an obstinate tenacity about what men call their `rights'! How many of them might be avoided if men were more willing to forgive and more desirous of peace! Let us never forget that a fire cannot go on burning without fuel. Just in the same way it takes two to make a quarrel. Let us resolve that by God's grace of these two we will never be one. Let us resolve to return good for evil, blessing for cursing, and so melt down enmity and change our foes into friends (Rom. 12:20). It was a fine feature in Archbishop Cranmer's character that if you did him an injury he was sure to be your friend.

Would we grow in grace ourselves and become more holy in all our ways, works and words? Let us remember this passage — nothing so grieves the Holy Spirit and brings spiritual darkness over the soul as giving way to a quarrelsome and unforgiving temper (Eph. 4:30-32).

For meditation: Are you nursing a grudge against anyone? Is it not time to put it to death and to recognize that your begrudging spirit is just as sinful as that which caused you offence in the actions of another?

These readings (ISBN: 0 85234 420 1) are copyrighted and made available with permission by
Evangelical Press; 12 Wooler St., Darlington, Co, Durham, England, DL1 1RQ