This verse tells us that when there is a conflict or a gap in our interactions with others, we should forbear and forgive others. The Bible recorded such a thing: “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus said to him, I say not to you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22). From the exchange between Jesus Christ and Peter, we can feel God’s will. He hopes that we can learn to forgive others, love one another, and get along well with others. If someone offends us, we think it is enough to forgive him seven times. But Jesus Christ asked us to forgive others seventy times seven. This is the principle of getting along with others given by God. He hopes that we can forgive others and take it as our responsibility, as a mandatory lesson for loving and satisfying God. This is what should be possessed by normal humanity.
This is the Lord Jesus’ demands on us. No matter what we do, regardless of whether it is a big thing or a small thing, God hopes that we should do it before God not before man, in order to obey God and satisfy God’s requirements, not to obtain honor of others. But a lot of time, we do things to make our brothers and sisters think highly of us, as well as to win the praise of pastors and elders, just as God says: “Everything he did was actually human goodness and he did not at all seek the truth, and everything he has done was in vain because it was all done in front of people and not before God, and moreover was not practiced in accordance with God’s requirements and in accordance with the truth. Everything he did was not practicing the truth or God’s word, and moreover was not carrying out God’s will. Rather, he was using man’s kind-heartedness and good behavior to help people. In summation, he did not seek God’s intentions in anything he did, nor did he do it in accordance with God’s requirements. Therefore, in God’s eyes, people’s good behavior is condemned and not commemorated” (“Knowing Yourself Requires Knowing Your Deep-rooted Thoughts and Views”). God’s words make me think of hypocritical Pharisees. When they donated, they deliberately let others see. When they prayed, they stood at crossroads on purpose. They pretended godly before men. On the contrary, they didn’t obey the commandments and demands of God. All that they have done is to establish themselves and bring man before them, so they were not commemorated by God, but condemned by God. Today, if we see brothers and sisters in a passive state, we’ll provide and support them. If we see someone in trouble, we will help them. But if what we do is just to let others praise us, and have our place in their hearts, not to care about and carry out God’s will, in the same way, such “good deeds” as we do are in vain, and we shall not receive God’s praise.
Here the Lord Jesus teaches us to understand and forgive others. If we do this, our mistakes will also be understood and forgiven by others when we do something wrong. Just as we are deeply corrupted before the Lord, yet the Lord still saves us with His supreme love. As Christians, we should live out the Lord’s love and always put ourselves in others’ shoes to understand and forgive others, just like the Lord Jesus telling Peter to forgive others seventy times seven. Each of us has weakness and some shortcomings. If people’s relationship cannot be built on the basis of loving and forgiving one another, they cannot achieve harmony and show love and mercy to one another, thus they cannot get along with one another. The Lord is unwilling to see this situation. However, in real life, we always have barriers with others because of some small things, and always request others to understand us first. In order to get along well with others, what should we do? Some God’s words came to me, “A proper relationship between people is established on the foundation of giving their heart to God; it is not achieved through human effort. Without God, relationships between people are merely relationships of the flesh. They are not proper, but are indulgent of lust—they are relationships that God detests, that He loathes” (from “Establishing a Proper Relationship With God Is Very Important”). In fact, if we want to be able to show love, mercy and understanding to others, first we should have a normal relationship with God. Only if we have a normal relationship with God and understand God’s will can we know how to treat others. God will also guide us.
The Lord Jesus clearly told His disciples to beware of the teachings of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Pharisees and the Sadducees were the upper ranks of the Jewish religion of that time. Why did the Lord Jesus teach His disciples to guard against them? I wondered: What did the Pharisees and the Sadducees do at that time?
The prophets throughout the ages have been persecuted, and some of them have even been killed. The twelve apostles of the Lord Jesus, except John, were all martyred, and when those foreign missionaries came to China to preach the gospel, they used their own blood and lives to sow the seeds of the gospel in China, completing their mission. But compared with the promises of the Lord Jesus, what do these persecutions count for? The Lord Jesus clearly told us that it is blessed that we are persecuted for believing in God, because the reward which was given by God is great. God’s words say: “Have you ever accepted the blessings that you were given? Have you ever sought the promises that you were made? You will surely, under the guidance of My light, break through the stranglehold of the forces of darkness. You will surely not, in the midst of darkness, lose the light guiding you. You will surely be the master of all creation. You will surely be an overcomer before Satan. You will surely, at the downfall of the kingdom of the great red dragon, stand up amid the myriad throngs to bear witness to My victory. You will surely be resolute and unwavering in the land of Sinim. Through the sufferings you endure, you will inherit the blessing that comes from Me, and will surely irradiate within the entire universe with My glory” It is the end time now, the Lord Jesus also prophesied that there will be great disasters in the last days. When we are able to bear resounding testimony in the great tribulation and to be an overcomer before Satan, we are to be qualified for God’s blessing.
The teaching of the Lord Jesus reminded me of the prophecy mentioned in Revelation that “I will give to him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely.” All those who seek the truth, hunger and thirst for righteousness will receive the provision of living water of life and be sated in their spirit when they come before God. It’s necessary for man to have an active seeking heart. Just as God’s words say, “God directs His word to all people. If you are willing to read it, He will enlighten you, but if you are not, He will not. God enlightens those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, and those who seek Him. … God has spoken much, so you should do your utmost to eat and drink of His word. Without realizing it, you will come to understand and the Holy Spirit will enlighten you. When the Holy Spirit enlightens man, it is often without man’s awareness. He enlightens and guides you when you thirst and seek. The principle by which the Holy Spirit works is centered on the word of God of which you eat and drink.” “If someone always feels like he can’t eat or drink enough of God’s word, if he always seeks it and hungers and thirsts for it, the Holy Spirit will always do work upon him. The more someone yearns, the more practical things can come out of his fellowship. The more intensely someone seeks the truth, the more quickly his life grows, giving him rich experience and making him a wealthy man in the house of God.” From God’s words we can see, God treasures and enlightens those who long for and seek the truth. Meanwhile, this is a must practice for us seeking the appearance of God. For example, during the age when the Lord Jesus did His work, the scribes and Pharisees who abided by the Bible and were unwilling to seek the work and words of the Lord Jesus missed the chance to accept the provision of the Lord Jesus’ words. While those who thirsted for the work and words of the Lord Jesus received the provision of the living water of life and obtained the guidance of the work of the Holy Spirit. This is a huge practical example. In the Bible God prophesied many times that the Lord Jesus has words for us during His second coming in the last days. And whether we could gain these words or not needs our active seeking, for the Lord Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.” Though many people are afraid of being deceived by false Christs and antichrists in the last days, God will surely lead us to find His work and words if we are willing to seek.
God requires us to love Him with all our heart and with all our mind. There is God’s good intention in it. God is holy, while we are sinners deeply corrupted by Satan. Based on the substance of our corruption, in fact, we are not fit to love God and even enjoy God’s love. God requiring us this way is God uplifting us and God’s grace to us. If we can love God with all our heart and with all our mind, we can achieve God’s salvation, live in God’s care and protection, break away from Satan’s boundage and control, and receive the real human life. Take Peter for example: It is because he pursued to love God and satisfy God in all his life that the Lord gave to him the keys of the kingdom of heaven. He accepted God’s commission and fed the Lord’s sheep for the sake of carrying out God’s will, so as to be able to love God utterly and obey God till death, and bear a beautiful and resounding witness to God. If we can pursue to love God and obey God like Peter, dedicate ourselves to carrying out God’s will, and become someone who truly loves God, this is the most meaningful life. Just as God’ words say, “The reason why only those who truly love God have the most value and meaning in their lives, and only they truly believe in God, is because these people live in God’s light, they are able to live for God’s work and management; they do not live in darkness, but live in the light; they do not live meaningless lives, but lives that have been blessed by God. Only those who love God are able to testify to God, only they are God’s witnesses, only they are blessed by God, and only they are able to receive God’s promises. Those who love God are God’s intimates, they are the people beloved by God, and they can enjoy blessings together with God. Only people such as this will live to eternity, and only they will forever live under God’s care and protection. ”
This verse is the prophecy of God doing the work of judgment in the last days. Concerning the work of the judgment in the last days, Jesus Christ also prophesied, “He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). From these prophecies we can see when Jesus Christ comes in the last days, He will return to express the truth and do the work of judgment beginning from the house of God.
God does His work with the greatest patience and love. God requires us to let go of ourselves when we serve and help others and to treat brothers and sisters with patience and love. So, no matter when, we should stand in an equal footing with brothers and sisters to do things or have a heart-to-heart talk with them, just like chatting with our friends and relatives. If we do so, brothers and sisters are willing to speak with us from their hearts. When we learn what practical difficulties they meet and then fellowship with them about God’s will according to these difficulties, we will help brothers and sisters. For instance, when they encounter difficulties in their work, we can fellowship about how to rely on God and look to God and talk more about our own experience with them; when they fall ill, we can encourage them to have faith in God, and tell them what God’s will is during the refinement, so that they don’t misunderstand God or blame God and can bear witness to God, and so on. After brothers and sisters hear our fellowship, they will have the path of practice and know the Lord’s will. Only then can we succeed in helping and supporting them.
From this verse, we can see that the Lord hopes that we can empty ourselves and relinquish our own old notions, to be a person with pure obedience, because only people with pure hearts can hear God’s voice and follow the footsteps of God. Think back to 2000 years ago, the Lord Jesus preached the gospel of heaven and did the work of redemption. At that time, although the way of repentance preached by the Lord Jesus was beyond the scope of the Law, all those who sincerely believed in God and waited for the coming of Messiah, like Peter, John, James and other disciples, listened to the preaching of the Lord Jesus with sober minds, and were unswerving in following the Lord Jesus. Because they saw that the words of the Lord Jesus can make the lame walk and resurrect the dead, and that His words possess the same power and authority as the Creator used His words to create the heavens and earth and all things. Also because they saw that the Lord Jesus was filled with lovingkindness and mercy, forgiving the sins of man and also teaching His followers to love their neighbor as themselves, love their enemies, and be patient and forbearing, which brought people ways of practice. On the contrary, the Pharisees and the leaders of Judaism who clung to the letters of the Old Testament of the Bible to condemned and resisted the Lord Jesus, and those Jews who were deceived for lack of their own views and discernment, colluded together with the Roman government to crucify the Lord Jesus—committed a heinous crime—consequently they were punished by God and would never again receive the forgiveness or pardon of the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus has ever prophesied, “For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.” The Lord predicted that He would be rejected by the world again when He comes back in the last days. It tells the recurrence of the tragedy that people of the last days will condemn and resist the Lord Jesus’ second coming. For us to welcome the Lord Jesus’ return, for those matters we cannot see through, should we be with pure hearts to put aside ourselves, pray and seek the truth to gain God’s inspiration and guidance so as not to miss God’s salvation?