Bible reading plan Bible reading plan

I Owe You Not You Owe Me

22 January 2021

Here at GoChurch we express our vision through 3 core values: Love Grow Go.

 

All three of these are equally important and to help us live these out we are looking to see a culture of honour with honesty, truth with love.

 

In the middle of this week’s chapters, Jesus gives some really great teaching that shows us how we can practically live with a culture like this.

 

Firstly, he addresses the issue of how you should handle relationships with someone when they have done something wrong which we see in Matthew 18v15-20. People are always going to let us down in some way.  So, knowing the best way to still live right at these times and with people we may be angry or upset with, is really important. Over the years I have had to learn to put this into practice and I know I am still learning.

 

The best way, Jesus shows us, is that we must first of all go and speak directly with the person and try to help put it right. We don’t go to others and chat about the person in the wrong - this is not loving or honouring of them. However, if the person doesn’t respond right then you can bring in others but it’s still important that we do this in a loving and honouring way. Whilst we are speaking the truth and being honest with others about how we feel about something they have done, we must always remember to do it in a loving and gracious way.

 

This leads very nicely to the next bit of teaching Jesus gave which is all about showing mercy which we see in Matthew 18v21-35.

 

You see, how we treat others when they have wronged us or let us down is so crucial not just to that relationship but also to how God will treat us. God always wants to show us mercy when we turn to him because his forgiveness towards us is always available. He wants and expects us to show the same to others. If we don’t then we cut ourselves off from receiving forgiveness.

 

I always remember a number of years ago when I was really irritated and angry about something that I felt Simone had not done and I was stewing on it. That evening I had got to the point where I was still really annoyed and was expecting her to repent and say sorry to me. I wanted her to recognise where she had gone wrong and reach out to me - in my eyes I had the right to expect this as I was the one who felt hurt and she was in the wrong. As I was about to go to sleep, I was praying that God would change her and make her see this (how wrong was I!!), God spoke clearly to me and told me to make the first move. I then got angry with God because I still felt hurt and now felt he wasn’t listening to me. His reply: “Mark, when you were totally wrong and I was totally right, I made the first move and came and died for you, now turn around and make the first move”. This was checkmate! I had nothing to respond with other than to view once again God’s mercy towards me and to turn around and reach out to Simone and put things right.

 

I would love to say that since then I have always done this but unfortunately Simone and many others will tell you I haven’t but I am learning and growing in this area. This is what God wants all of us to be doing.

 

As we start this New Year, let’s all work to speak the truth in love and to be honest with honour. Let’s aim to keep short accounts with each other, to go to each other in humility and work things out with one another and most of all to show each other the same mercy that we have been shown.

 

Romans 12v1 says ‘In view of God’s mercy present your bodies as a living sacrifice’. We can only live as Jesus teaches us in the readings this week because we have our eyes firmly focused on the forgiveness and mercy that we have been shown by Him. The outworking of all of this will be churches where the unsaved find love, which after all is one of our core values!


Photo of Mark Walker

Mark Walker

Assistant Pastor
GoChurch Manchester