Leftovers | Devotion #1: When Things Spoil
Tommy Youngquist | Children’s Pastor
“Do you think this is bad?” my wife said to me as I started to watch the first inning of the Tigers’ game. She was prepping lunches for the week and had some left-over chicken from a previous lunch. “Give it the smell test!” I exclaimed. “I’m not smelling this; you smell it.” I reluctantly got up from my comfortable spot on the couch, walked over to the fridge, and cracked the lid. “Yep, it’s bad!”
When food spoils, it smells really bad. You know it, I know it. When family relationships spoil though, it is not so easily detectable. There is this feeling of awkwardness, all of the time. There is a sense of obligation because after all, they are family. There is sensitivity that develops into bitterness. That bitterness develops into anger and hate. Then that hate develops into malice! Before you know it, you actually wish bad on the people you are supposed to love the most. When is enough, enough? When do you cut the cord?
The answer to those questions is never! Need I remind you of two principles found in God’s Word. First, nothing anyone has done to you is worse than what you did to God, and God forgave you.
Colossians 3:12-13 says, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
You cannot miss the word “must” in verse 13. We do not have another option besides forgiveness. Why? It is because the Lord has forgiven you. Second, no matter how many times someone offends you, you still find it in your heart to forgive them.
Matthew 18:21-22 says, “Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.’”
You should read the parable after these verses. It is pretty incredible. Here is the point: Enough is never enough when it comes to forgiveness. God also gave you common sense for a reason. If a family relationship has spoiled to the point of continual emotional, psychological, or physical abuse, maybe it is time to distance yourself from that family member. Forgive them, but remove that sin from your life. Pray to God for opportunities to fix it and wait patiently. Pray that God humbles them and brings them back to you. Always be eager to receive them back.