For Husband and Wife (Day 13 — “Palm Sunday” Bonus)
JUST SHARING (from the “Couple’s Devotional Bible”)
This article’s author: Lewis Smedes
Bible Passage: Matthew 18:21-35
Key Verse: Matthew 18:21
“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 said, “Forgive seventy-seven times,” but he didn’t mean to count. What he meant was, “Be the kind of person who doesn’t ask the question, ‘How many times should I forgive?’ Just be a forgiving person.”
The proper question is not, “How often?” but rather, “Under what circumstances can I forgive?” One consideration is this: Repeated forgiving should not be confused with toleration of what’s going on. We must be intolerant of evil, whether it happens to us or anyone else.
You can forgive me almost anything, but if you tolerate everything I do you will make matters between us worse. Sometimes there comes a time when one spouse will say to the other, “I cannot forgive you while this continues. It must stop or I must get out, so that I can begin to forgive.”
• What is something you know your spouse has had to forgive you for more than once?
• Describe the essential difference between forgiveness and tolerance.
Additional Scripture Readings: Luke 17:3-4; 1 Corinthians 13:5