March 2, Thursday

The AMI QT Devotionals from February 27-March 5 are provided by Pastor Yohan Lee who serves at Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco.  

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY

Fooled for Christ

1 Corinthians 6:6-8

But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? 7 To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!

2I didn’t realize it until this winter that I don’t like travelling to other countries—especially if I can’t speak the language.  Don’t get me wrong, I like visiting new places and experiencing new cultures, but what I hate is not knowing if I’m have been taken advantage of when it comes to money. I always feel like the souvenir vendor is overcharging me, the cab driver got me for like five times what he charges locals, or that I paid for beef but what I really got was squirrel—basically, I hate getting taken advantage of.  Now my wife, who has to deal with my poutiness after I make a bad deal, will often try to cheer me up with things like, “You would’ve paid more for that in the States,” or “Think of that guy, he probably has a family, and you just made his week.”  That silly talk never brings me any comfort since money is only about 25% of the issue.  The rest of the issue is that when I have been taken advantage of—I feel powerless and stupid.  I imagine the guy who just ripped me off bragging to his friend, “See that chump over there?  I just traded him these five ‘magic’ beans for his last cow and he gave me $100.  Americans are so stupid!  Hahaha.”

Look, when it comes to being wronged or defrauded, nobody likes it.  But there’s more to it than money:  it’s often an issue of feeling powerless, or when the crook is a friend, it’s a matter of broken trust or betrayal.  When such things happen to you, what do you do?  Do you plan your revenge?  Do you intend to fight fire with fire?  Or in very rare cases, do you trust God to set things straight.

Now, today’s passage is interesting, because in its context, Paul was addressing two believers who were bringing their dispute to civil court and thus ruining their witness to the outside world.  So you could make the case that the weight of the chapter is on being an effective witness, which I wouldn’t argue.  But might I suggest that the issue of faith undergirds this passage? Meaning, we need faith that the name and witness of Jesus is far more important than our rights, even for civil justice.  And we need faith to forgive another person (especially another believer) who cheats us or pulls one over on us, making us feel powerless or stupid, because we have a God who not only judges all wrongs but rewards all good actions, like forgiving.  Ultimately, we need to have faith that we can follow the example of Christ who was wronged to the utmost degree but had the grace to forgive.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the grace to forgive when I am wronged so that You would be honored.  Help me to be less concerned about my rights than I am about Your name and reputation.  Help me to lay down my feelings of embarrassment and helplessness and to trust in You, not only as the justifier but the rewarder. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 12


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Matt. 6:9-15: This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Questions to Consider

  1. In the Lord’s Prayer, what is the first request Jesus makes? What is the first thing you say to God in prayer?
  2. What are some observations we can make about forgiveness from this passage?
  3. Is there someone who you need to forgive?

Notes

  1. Christ’s first request is for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done. Continuing on this morning’s theme, ideally, it’s the Lord’s purpose and renown that should have priority in our hearts and prayers.
  2. In verse 12, our forgiveness is assumed before we ask for forgiveness from the Lord. We also see this idea furthered in vv. 14-15, as Jesus says we should not expect the Lord’s grace if we are unwilling to show the same.
  3. Personal response.

EVENING REFLECTION

Today’s main theme was about forgiveness and trusting/honoring Christ.  How are you when it comes to forgiving people when you have been wronged?  Are you generally gracious?  Are you willing to endure ill treatment if it honors Christ?  Are there habits that you need to cut out to represent Christ well in the world?  How important is it for you to represent Him well?

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