We are back to Chapter 18 starting in verse 7. After reading a few different commentaries and praying over these passages, I have to disagree with some of the more common interpretations of this passage. If we look at the text, there is no break in the actual context of the situation that the scripture is conveying. What I mean is, the child is still standing in the midst of Jesus and the disciples when Jesus speaks of sin as offenses. Some commentators say that Jesus wasn't directly addressing sin in regards to children. This is what I disagree with.
He has just pronounced a fitting end to a person who causes a little child to misunderstand God in verse 18:6. In 18:7, He says "Woe, to the world because of it's offenses" He then goes on to say that it is inevitable that sin will come but "woe" to that man by whom the sin offenses should come.
That word "woe" is a great expression of grief. Sin causes the Lord great grief especially if the target of that sin is little children.
I saw a documentary on the National Geographic Channel where they interviewed adults that had been children who grew up in families living within a religious cult. One of the most heart rending interviews was the interview with Brent Jeffs. His uncle Warren Jeffs ,was the leader of the FLDS church until he was placed in prison for his crimes against women and children.
In the interview, Brent Jeffs, explained his experience of being raped by his uncle starting at five years of age. The attacks continued for several years. He explained, how his uncle would come and get him from Sunday school, walk him to a bathroom, rape him and return him to Sunday school where he said he would sit and shake, waiting for the pain to subside. He said, as he was being attacked, he would wonder what he had done that made God hate him so much. He had been taught about God. He was sure that God had forsaken him. That God had thrown him away and considered him trash. He said that that was how his five year old mind perceived what was Happening to him.
As he retold his story, this grown man wept like he was five again. He talked about how badly he wanted his mom to help him but he was afraid to tell anyone what was happening to him.
The point I want to make here is that I don't think that Jesus had changed subjects when He goes on to talk about conquering sin. In verse 18:8 we have the beginning of the famous "if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off" verses. I think that most people are focused on the wrong thing when they read these verses. Jesus's point is not whether you loose a limb. His point is, that we need to be willing to do whatever it takes to rid ourselves of sin. Unchallenged, sin can have devastating effects on others, especially little children.
No matter what psychologists say, if it is sin in the life of a believer, there is a way of escape. Every sin starts with the temptation to do wrong. 1st Corinthians 10:13 says: No Temptation has over taken you but such as is common to man and God is faithful, (and here is where this verse is terribly miss used and miss quoted) who will not allow you to BE TEMPTED beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape (from sin!!! and temptation!!! not the trials and sufferings of life!!!)that you may be able to endure it.
In verses 18:8-9 Jesus is saying, be willing, throw it out, cut it off, excise it from your life before it becomes your stronghold (Psalm 59:17)
I promise not to be so wordy with the rest of this.
Verse 18:10 is an incredible verse. I truly believe that this verse explains how our two adopted daughters came to be with us. Their angels, who are continually beholding the face of our God and Father, worked to have them sent to us. I know people who have trouble when trying to figure out this verse. I have no trouble. I am keenly aware that angels could possess the ability to behold the face of God AND keep a close watch on the children that they are assigned to. Our intellect is so far below the ability to understand what the spiritual world is really like. What about the verse that talks about the angels rejoicing over a sinner who repents? (Luke 15:10)(party in heaven?) Anyway, there will have to be more on angels another day.
The last thing I want to address is verses 18:21-35. Jesus is speaking of forgiveness and of course the verse that says forgive 70X7 is here. I noticed that in all the teaching that Jesus does here, He does not qualify the forgiveness. By this I mean that he doesn't say. "If the person is truly repentant" or "But if he continues to wrong you, you can cease to forgive."
I have had more than a handful of wives tell me that it is very difficult to forgive their husbands because they don't see any change. Their husbands continue to slip up in areas that really challenge their wives. They ask questions like "well, if he was truly sorry wouldn't he change?" or "if he is sorry, why does he continue to struggle in this area?" I have to say that I sympathize with their dilemma, but the God of the universe did not say that we should examine motives or look for signs of true repentance from the one asking for forgiveness. He said Forgive.
There is a lot more in this chapter that could be discussed but I think we have enough to help us remember this chapter.
For Chapter 18, we will use. 18 WORDS,**** BECOME AS A CHILD, PLUCK OUT YOUR EYE, FORGIVE 70 times 7. WHERE 2 OR 3 ARE GATHERED-**** 18 WORDS.
Remember, the goal is to remember where these well known, important topics appear in scripture.
By now I hope you have been able to see the value of remembering where important subjects appear in the word of God. It is a long process, the more I study and use the memory tools, the more I realize how little I know. But I also know that there is no hurry. I will be here to study and remember as long as my God wants me here and not a minute shorter than that.
Remember to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you remembrance and an excitement for His word. This is not a cupcake and frosting bible study. I understand that there is a challenge to this work. The important thing to remember as you are working your way through this is that you will "always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account of the hope that is in you" (from 1st Peter 3:15).
Keep going ladies! I'm praying for everyone of you.