25 Days of December: Matthew Chapter 18

Catch up post #2! This is post #15 in our 25 part series where we are going over the book of Matthew chapters 4-28. This is our attempt at getting a grasp on some “soul food” during this time of busyness and distraction. So glad you are here!

Main points for today:

  • Using children as our example
  • Eliminate distractions that cause you to stumble in your faith
  • Leave the 99 to help the 1
  • How to deal with the sin of others
  • We have been forgiven, we must forgive others in return

 

  • Using children as our example

Matthew 18:2-5 (NIV): “He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.'”

Let’s talk about the qualities that children naturally posses. Children will of course have their different personalities, but overall they have some things in common (if trauma has not effected them).

  • Faith: they believe anything is possible!
  • Equality: they don’t treat anyone differently because of their skin color, gender or financial status.
  • Creativity: they love to make things and play with their imagination. They believe they can make things if they do not already exist!
  • Curiosity: kids love to explore their surroundings and find the answers to questions they may have.
  • Trust: they trust that their caregivers will take care of them and that they will protect them at all times.
  • Love: they love people and animals and even pretend things. Sense of self: kids are selfish from time to time (haha) and it’s important to have time to ourselves!
  • A mind of their own: this is a tough one for parents. It is very challenging for us to keep them in bounds when they challenge everything. This is actually a good quality. We want children who will challenge the ways of the world when they don’t feel it is right! We want them to challenge friends at school who are getting into the wrong things!

 

  • Leave the 99 to help the 1

Matthew 18:12-14 (NIV): “‘What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.'”

Most of us have heard this, but do we apply it? We know that our Father will go after the 1 lost sheep, but do we do this in our own lives? Do we skip the Christmas party to go after the lost man on the street? Do we leave our group of friends in order to go call and check on the 1 friend who is going through a tough time?

Another thing I just questioned about this scripture is: should we be going out of our way a little more to explore the world, discover answers, and take a chance on our dreams (God gives us dreams!)? It may be a risk to wander off and take a chance, but we know that God will come and find us! Is it better to learn and grow on a different path than to follow the crowd and do the same thing because it’s comfortable??

  • How to deal with the sin of others

Matthew 18:15-17 (The Message): “‘If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him-work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again.If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.'”

Goodness, this is useful! Here we have an exact formula on what to do when our friends hurt us! There isn’t much more I can add to this, for it speaks for itself. Easier said than done, huh? Confrontation. Raise your hand if you are good at it! (NOT ME!)

  • We have been forgiven, we must forgive others in return

Matthew 18:21-35 (NIV):

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.”

It may be obvious, as we read this story, what the problem is. It’s always easier to see it when someone else is doing it. Do we forgive others as we are forgiven? Jesus died on the cross to forgive ALL of our sins, but then we turn to our brothers and sisters and tell them they owe us something! Wow. The forgiveness they need from us is for just one thing in the whole grand scheme of things. Jesus chose to forgive each of us EVEN when we DON’T deserve it and we’ve hurt him. We hurt Jesus, sometimes on the daily. How can we justify our own actions then turn to point the finger at others?

 

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One thought on “25 Days of December: Matthew Chapter 18

  1. This can hit home in all of the points you made. I agree it’s easy to see that other people need to forgive but we can be self deceived about ourselves needing to forgive others. I loved your point on leaving the 99 to reach the one. Such a powerful point to follow God’s calling to help others. Sometimes it takes leaving the herd to give Him glory in reaching the 1.
    Thank you again Lakin for these wonderful posts! I look forward to the emails notifying me of a new post!

    Like

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