Lenten Devotional, 3/23/2012


Friday, March 23
Feel the Breeze

Read Matthew 18:21-35

Then Peter came and said to him, 'Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.  -- Matthew 18:21-22 (NRSV)

Jesus said, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven." It has always been interesting that "Church folk" seem to be the ones whose feelings are easily hurt. It was a concern even with the disciples (as stated in the text.)

Often when there is something said or done we retaliate, saying or doing something even more ridiculous. We then assume the character of the unforgiving servant.

In the parable of Matthew 18, Jesus clearly asked the question of the wicked servant "Should you not have had compassion on his fellow servant as the master had forgiven him?" It must be terribly depressing to be burdened with a grudge against someone. To hold onto any negative causes much stress.

To forgive and be forgiven relieves one of stress and depression and gives a feeling comparable to walking in the right sunshine and feeling the breeze of a balmy spring day. Forgiveness makes you free. Freedom in Jesus is freedom indeed. -- Juanita Franklin

Prayer: Gracious heavenly father, thank you for your forgiving love and grace. Enable us to be forgiving and loving as you loved us. We pray in the name of Jesus, your son and our brother. Amen

Juanita Franklin is a member of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Foxworth and serves as chairperson of the Conference Commission on Religion and Race.

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