Prayer: Help me to forgive, O Lord. Amen
Reading: Matthew 18:21-25 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: Our Friday devotions this month look at Day 3 of our summer curriculum. This year, we will be studying “A Love That Never Ends,” looking at how five Old Testament heroes were shown love for God and learning how that love is part of our lives, too. On Wednesdays this summer, we will look at the story of Jonah.
Jonah, of course, had a lot of trouble forgiving the people of the city of Nineveh. In fact, he did everything he could to avoid delivering God’s message to the town, because he just knew that God was going to forgive them. He just didn’t think that was right. “I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.” (Jonah 4:2).
Fast forward to Peter wondering if Jesus wouldn’t quantify this forgiveness thing. How often should I forgive? Seven times? Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Jesus ups the ante: Seventy-seven times. Depending on how that is translated it could be seventy times seven times. 490? Wow, like that’s really a lot! Neither Jonah nor Peter got it. And we probably don’t either. It’s not a matter of how often we are to forgive. It’s not really about justifying forgiveness or not forgiving. It’s about a God whose very being is forgiveness. It’s about being a forgiver. It’s about our very being--a forgiven forgiver. --Jim Bricker, Chaplain to Camp Mount Luther’s Summer Staff
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