In their book Relationships: A Mess Worth Making, Timothy S Lane and Paul David Tripp offer an antidote to an attitude of ungratefulness and its effects that Christ lovingly warned of in the parable of unmerciful servant (Matthew 18: 21-35). In the parable, a servant owed an enormous debt to his king. The king had mercy on him and forgave the debt. However, immediately after benefiting from this act of mercy, the servant sought, harshly, the payment of a much, much smaller debt owed to himself. It did not end well for the servant.

Always, the battle of our hearts is ‘self’. As the antidote, Lane and Tripp recommend reading 1 Peter 1: 1-9, at the start - and end - of every day. The passage reminds us of the treasure that we’ve received in Jesus Christ and lays the foundation, through grace, for our relationship with others.

It is the call to radical grace, radical forgiveness. A good way, perhaps, to start a new year.

1-2 I, Peter, am an apostle on assignment by Jesus, the Messiah, writing to exiles scattered to the four winds. Not one is missing, not one forgotten. God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus. May everything good from God be yours!

3-5 What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.

6-7 I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.

8-9 You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation.
[The Message]

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