Not Matthew 18 (Matthew 18)

“Woe to the world for temptations to sin![a] For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell[b] of fire. Matthew 18:7-10

I can still remember where I was and who I was with when I heard the following: “Not Matthew 18.”  The person who made this statement was speaking out of frustration toward people who had repeatedly abused the teaching of Matthew 18.

When I read Matthew 18, I come away with a totally different view.  Here is why:

Matthew 19 begins with the issue of humility and it ends with the issue of mercy.  Here is an overview of the chapter:

  • Vs: 1-6 deal with the childlike attitude needed to follow Christ.
  • Vs: 7-10 deal with the issue of stumbling blocks.
  • Vs: 10-14 deal with our care for lost sheep.
  • Vs: 15-20 deal with the issue of spiritual accountability.
  • Vs: 21-35 deal with the issue of mercy and forgiveness.

All of this fits together so wonderfully.  If I have a childlike walk with God, I will be able to avoid the stumbling blocks of life.  I will care for the lost and I will seek to bring home the lost church member.  I will show mercy because I have overwhelming experience with mercy.

Dear Lord, lead me to approach Matthew 18 with a heart that lives out my faith with the goal of reconciliation between God and man in all things!!!

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