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A Good & Beautiful Community is A Reconciling Community

From Matthew 18:21-35 we read and discussed the following verses, and questions.

Feel free to engage in the conversation here.

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[a]

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[b] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[c] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

  1. What is it that stops us from receiving God’s grace?
  2. How and where am I hiding weakness? How is it hurting me & others?
  3. What imperfections in others and in circumstances, can I work on accepting and loving? 


A Peculiar Community Are We.

When we explore what kind of community the church is, we find scriptures like 1 Peter 2:9-10 lay out some wonderful characteristics and a truly awesome identity in God…

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 

We see God’s identity on His people as:

An elect citizenship, relatives. An order of people devoted to the King. A pure ethnicity, physically, emotionally and spiritually. A peculiar ‘belonging-to-God’ people. A “mercied” community.  Wow!

So, what do you think of this statement?  “While churches & Christian communities don’t have exclusive rights to the virtues of love, truth, service, forgiveness, hard work .. we are different based on ‘why’ and ‘how’ we love, speak the truth, serve, forgive, work hard etc.”

Why and How do Christian communities/churches behave differently?

Living Without Worry – the Good & Beautiful Life.

Last week I had the most beautiful thought. Imagine if the church was known as the go-to place when you felt overwhelmed with worry!  I know this sounds grand, but Jesus really does offer us the key. Our time together at church on Friday night was spent thinking and talking and praying for this in our lives. We’re currently discussing our way through Jesus’ sermon on the mount, and this week we read Matthew 6:25-34.

It went like this: First we asked ourselves these questions –

  1. —Why do you think we entertain worry? Why do we let ourselves keep worrying? —
  2. Does worry helps us control our circumstances?
  3. What do you think of this statement: “Jesus tells us not to worry because he wants us to give up our feelings of control.” ?

Our answer to #1 was agreed – we live with an illusion of control.

To #2 we had to distinguish between care and concern, and worry. Care and concern help motivate us to come up with ideas to influence our circumstances for good.

Worry is excessive concern, and is another word for anxiety. It achieves nothing in our lives but stress. It’s bad for our health and it stops us from being creative, and looking for God’s solution.

To #3 we basically agreed. The more we worry, the more we focus on ourselves and our problems. When we choose to give up that focus, we are free to look for Jesus’ way through the trials of life.

Jesus key for tackling worry is this: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.”

I take this to mean –

  • Make trusting the King of Kings the highest priority in our lives.
  • Make the principles of the Kingdom of God our first concern (God is the all-knowing all-seeing, all-powerful creator and Father of all. He loves us and knows our needs. While he doesn’t promise ease and comfort for all, he does promises to save all who call on his name.)
  • Make the question “What is Father God doing in this situation?” our first question.
  • Look at all our troubles and trials through the lens that – God can and will work in them for good!

Seeking the Kingdom is the key to many of life’s struggles – to the whole sermon on the mount. Worry is not an expression of care. Nor does worry prevent pain, it makes us anxious and stops us from seeking God and trusting him.

I offer one more piece of biblical nourishment that I’m personally practicing now as I wrestle with my own temptations to worry. From the book of Lamentations (3:21-24)

This I call to mind and therefore I have hope:

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, The LORD is my portion; Therefore I will wait for him.”

To seek the Kingdom of God is to “call to mind” God’s love, unfailing compassions and great faithfulness. To “say to myself” God is great enough for me and my life. I will trust him. This is good self-talk, and it’s great conversation.  This is seeking the Kingdom first. Wherever we are – this will help us in our worries and in life.

Feel free to post your comments and questions..

Be encouraged,