HomeWord - Dec. 26, 2008
Lay Down the Weight
This devotional was written by Robin Dugall
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." — Matthew 18:21-22
I heard a sermon once in which the speaker pointed out that there are two kinds of people in the world. There are those who travel light and those who don’t. In my family, we have both kinds of people. For example, I have a 19-year-old son who travels light. When we go on vacation, he can pack everything he wants and needs in a sock! We also have those who don’t travel light. Not too long ago, we were on a vacation. I was walking through the airport carrying a very heavy suitcase that belonged to a member of my family. I groaned, “What did you put in this suitcase?” As you might imagine, carrying a heavy suitcase quickly becomes tiresome, and it’s not easy to lighten the load once the journey has started.
Spiritually speaking, I find that people often carry heavy loads. It’s not that anyone actually intends to “travel heavy” spiritually. No one asks to carry burdens that crush the spirit, or weigh down the soul, but it often turns out that way. We end up carrying around unresolved conflict, relational breakdowns, unsettled arguments, bitterness and grudges. Throughout the journey, we keep adding to the load. And, for some odd reason, many of us hold on to these things for dear life.
Wouldn’t it bring God incredible glory if we could do something about this? The Bible records Peter coming to Jesus one day. Somebody has hurt Peter. We don’t know any of the details, but it happened. Peter says to Jesus, “How many times do I have to forgive this man? Seven times?” Peter thinks he’s being quite generous with this. But Jesus’ response is surprising. Jesus answered Peter, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Jesus knew that the only way to get rid of bitterness was to forgive. The power of forgiveness comes in and through Jesus. Even as we have laid our lives before the cross to receive the gift of forgiveness, Jesus calls us to do the same with the issues that weigh down our souls. Whatever weight you’re carrying around, whatever hurt or bitterness is in your life, be willing to lay it down and remember again the price that was paid for your forgiveness. There is no miracle like that of forgiveness for lightening the load of everyday burdens!
- What weight(s) are you carrying around? Be specific. Tell God about them.
- Think about your own need for forgiveness and how God has blessed you with His grace. Now ask God to bless you with grace to pass on to others and to cover your “weighty” circumstances in life.
Matthew 6:14-15; Matthew 9:1-8; Matthew 11:25-30