Day 2: Read Matthew 18:15-17. When wronged, notice Jesus’ progression to make a relationship right. Why do you think Jesus has that progression of involvement from one to many to resolve a disagreement or wrong? How has that worked for you in giving and receiving forgiveness? Where might you need to ask or give forgiveness? One more observation about these verses – when wronged, the temptation is to see this as how you break off a relationship, and yet to treat someone like a sinner or tax collector is to see them as someone Jesus wants to be in relationship with personally. Think of a relationship that has hit a wall and there is some distance. Take some time to pray for that person today for God to be part of his or her life, for God to bless, and for forgiveness in your heart for them.
Day 3: Read Matthew 18:21-22. In Peter’s day, “3” was a considered a generous number of times to forgive someone’s sins. Peter ups the offer to “7”, a biblical number of completion, but totally inaccurate to God’s desire that we “build bridges”, not score keeping walls. Do you ever feel like God is still keeping score of your sins? Where are you tempted to keep score in relationships? Spend time in prayer today, thanking God that He does not keep score, and asking God to help you not to keep score of your own sins He has forgiven or anyone else’s.
Day 4: Read Matthew 18:27. Where do we draw the line between forgiving others and becoming a doormat? Is there even a line to draw? Where does that line exist between you and God?
Day 5: Read Matthew 18:31-34. Does holding someone accountable for future actions place a limit on the extent of our forgiveness? Do you find yourself more often in the position of needing forgiveness or needing to forgive?
Day 6: Read Matthew 6:12. You will never be more like Jesus than when you forgive. Jesus came to build a bridge across the sin that separates you from God, and He is calling you to build a bridge across the conflict that separates you from others. Where do you need to ask for forgiveness? Who do you need to ask God to forgive and to give forgiveness today?
You can GO DEEPER this week by reading the book Forgive & Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve by Lewis Smedes.