Bible Reference: Mark 11:25-26
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)
Bible Text: 25 And whenever you stand praying, if you find that you carry something in your heart against another person, release him and forgive him so that your Father in heaven will also release you and forgive you of your faults. 26 But if you will not release forgiveness, don’t expect your Father in heaven to release you from your misdeeds.”
OBSERVATION: It appears like we easily place ourselves before God and ask for things, without giving any thought to what His Word says. Forgiveness is one of those things where the Word says that one must forgive others, before asking God to forgive them personally. There is a similar command on giving, but today we will focus in on forgiveness.
APPLICATION: How easy is it to forgive another individual? When considering the extreme hurt caused to you, it becomes pretty challenging, doesn’t it? However, I believe that we are capable of understanding how God feels about us also. Imagine for a moment: God created human beings – you and I; He placed us on this beautiful earth that He meticulously created for us to enjoy, to live on, and the survive from everything that He placed on the earth. Yet we carelessly destroy all the beauty He created, plus we sin against one another, and even murder one another over very silly things. We are hurt by others who may be jealous over our successes, or they just may not approve of our well being, compared to their own. We are therefore provoked to stay away from them and be on guard to take any action necessary to protect our own territory. The relationship we develop with these individuals is such that we want to stay far enough away from them, and it wouldn’t hurt our feelings any if we saw them struggling along the edge of the road or about to drown in the ocean. However, praise to the Almighty, we are a holy people, and although we have sinned, we know that we can present ourselves before our Master and ask for forgiveness. STOP right there! That’s where our Scripture today becomes so vital to us. For why would God listen to a man, or woman, holding such a grudge against a Brother or Sister to the degree that they are willing to see them harmed along the roadside, or sink into the depths of the ocean? Could such a person seriously want forgiveness of their own sin, without giving thought or attention to the awful sin bound up inside against a fellow Brother or Sister? I believe that God is saying to us in His Word today, that this type of pleading from Him is unacceptable. For He expects us to clean up our own act, before asking a perfect God, who knows every little itsy bitsy thing about us, to forgive us of our own sin. I believe that God is saying to us that He will forgive us, as we have forgiven others. Only you and God can answer what that might look like: completely? fully? totally forgiven with nothing held back? There’s a song that centers around this theme and it speaks to the forgiven person being asked by God ‘What sin?’. Can you honestly ask that question of God if He questioned you about your relationship with a Brother or Sister who hurt you and caused you to harbor sin in your heart? ‘What sin are you referring to, dear Jesus? I forgave them a long time ago’. I believe that the Scripture is telling us to consider any grudge we have against another, before asking God to forgive us of our trespasses and our sin.
PRAYER: Precious Lord, we stand before You as an opened book today, knowing that You are well aware of our comings and our goings; our sin and our readiness to forgive. Please touch deep inside the hearts of all who will read this devotional today, and cause us to forgive others, so that we might receive Your forgiveness. AMEN!