With a full day ahead, Jodi and I decided it would be best to wake up and run our daily 5k before church. I think it was good for her to get a chance to really run again (without the kids), and it was good for me to just get my legs moving and keep working out my sore hamstring. I think it’s coming along. Hopefully next week I’ll be able to stretch my runs out a little further and a little faster. I have a lot of work to do if I’m going to reach my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon for 2019.
Our run was 3.3 miles at an average pace of 9:41 per mile. Total running time was 32 minutes and 31 seconds. It was just a nice start to the day. I always enjoy a morning run with my bride.
Reading through Matthew 16-18 today, I was struck mostly by the theme of “forgiveness” in Matthew 18. I am blown away by the level of forgiveness that God shows towards us. In the Parable of the Lost Sheep, we see a shepherd who is willing to leave the 99 sheep to find the one that has wandered away. When we “wander away”, we are really saying to God, “I don’t want You. I don’t like You. I don’t need You. I’ll do it my way, thank you very much.” How offensive is that?! But He loves us so much and is willing to forgive us so completely, that He gives us this parable to help us understand the depth of how He cares for us.
This illustration of forgiveness quickly turns from God’s willingness to our responsibility as followers of Christ. Immediately after the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus talks about what to do when your brother sins against you, and how to (at least attempt to) bring restoration to the relationship.
God cares about forgiveness.
In fact, the chapter ends with this convicting Parable of the Unforgiving Servant:
“The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn’t pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market. The poor wretch threw himself at the king’s feet and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt. The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, ‘Pay up. Now!’ The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ But he wouldn’t do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king. The king summoned the man and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn’t you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?’ The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt. And that’s exactly what my Father in heaven is going to do to each one of you who doesn’t forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy.” (Matthew 18:23-35, MESSAGE)
I would say that God is pretty serious about forgiveness! He is serious about offering it, and He is serious about us offering it to others.
But honestly, why wouldn’t we? For those of us who have put our faith in Christ and have been forgiven of all of our sins, why wouldn’t we freely offer forgiveness to those who sin against us?
Life is too short to hold a grudge. Eternity is too long to miss out on! Trust in Jesus. Accept His forgiveness. Offer forgiveness to others. Enjoy God forever.
*5k Every Day in the Month of May 2018 is brought to you by Jeff Polen Music and Vertical Runner of Wooster. If you are joining the fun, don’t forget about the Facebookgroup, the Strava group, and the printable PDF.