Jesus tells us to be in a church under a pastor’s leadership. This takes being willing to pray, serve and forgive daily.
Today my lectionary (scripture reading schedule) sent me to Matthew 18:21-27 (GNB), the Parable of The Unforgiving Servant: “…Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, if my brother keeps on sinning against me, how many times do I have to forgive him? Seven times?’”
Recall that. Re-read Jesus’ reply of ‘seventy times seven’. Jesus used the example of a king forgiving his servants for “…millions of dollars” [ of debt to the king]. (v24) The servant asked the king to, “Be patient with me.” (v26) The king was convinced by the servant’s urgent plea and manner requesting forgiveness from all the debt!
But…Did the servant fulfill his promise? I had to read on, intrigued, because I often see and hear similar pleas and promises from mercy seekers.
Like in Jesus’ day, one in ten may be truly sincere and appreciative, returning to thank Him. The same message is for a church or ministry; don’t quit! Don’t leave the church. Return to church and give thanks. You or I may have to spend time alone with Father God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit before returning to give thanks — first to God, then to the pastor and then to church members.
We are each gifted and unique. We are family with the same Heavenly Father, Older Brother Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. No one is preferred by God—male or female, ethnic group, social status, native or foreigner, etc. Each person is important and valuable to God. Each of us is given a purpose (Romans 8:28) by God who uses good and bad together to complete that individual purpose, in His love.
It was not easy for Jesus to finish His God-given purpose on the cross. He hurt! He prayed so hard he bled great drops of blood. Still, it was only an instant from when he prayed, “Let this cup pass from me” to Him saying “Not my Will but yours be done.” (Matthew 26:42-43) That Christly example is the unity God wants in our homes, churches, cities, counties, and nations.
We have two ears, two eyes, and one mouth. We must watch and listen more than we talk. We must go apart as Jesus did, to allow Father God and the Holy Spirit to answer prayers and give guidance. We have to be willing to receive the help of the Holy Spirit and examine different perspectives.
Not one of us has all the pieces. Unity involves giving and receiving from everyone’s pieces. Admitting selfishness, narrow-mindedness, or unwillingness to change to a better or newer way must come by the Holy Spirit’s encouragement. We must choose that.
To be servants of God, Psalm 119:23 reminds us, “… Your servant meditates on your statutes.” We must overcome our sinful ways to receive victory. Daily events may require a response. Our response, our choice leads to the outcome, good or bad. We must “become like trees firmly planted by streams of water…” (Psalm 1:3, NASB) Jesus is the Living Water. We must want and allow our minds to be renewed to the mind of Christ. (Romans 12:2)
Can each of us get alone with God and ask for the Holy Spirit to give us a Spiritual scrubbing to be cleansed inside and out by the blood of Jesus? Running away from God won’t fix your servanthood or friendships. Staying away won’t fix them either. Continue to ask to be cleansed and redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb.