Deuteronomy 7-9 Mark 11:19-33
“When you are praying, if you are angry with someone, forgive him so that your Father in heaven will also forgive your sins. But if you don’t forgive other people, then your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins.” (Mark 11:25-26 NCV)
When you think about the fundamentals of the Christian faith, forgiveness is high up on the list. No, it’s not one of the fundamentals that makes you a fundamentalist, but it’s a practice that Jesus taught, practiced, and died for. His teaching here on the subject reflects His teaching throughout the New Testament: forgiveness begets forgiveness. At the same time, lack of forgiveness leads to more lack of forgiveness. That last verse, while omitted in some manuscripts, is consistent with other instances of Jesus’s teachings: if you can’t forgive others, God won’t forgive you. Those are frightening words indeed!
When we realize how much God has forgiven us, though, it makes it easier to forgive. Most of the time we don’t forgive and hold something against another person, we don’t think about how much God has forgiven us. When God brings that to mind, and He will, we have two options: we can remain stubborn in our unforgiveness or we can repent and forgive. Let’s face it, when we don’t forgive, we don’t hurt the person that we’re refusing to forgive, but the anger and bile eats us up from the inside. We lose our joy. That person gets inside our head and goes with us everywhere. Once we forgive them and drop the burden of their wrong against us, we experience joy and release. We wonder why we didn’t forgive earlier. If only we would learn that lesson earlier and forgive others immediately. To turn a phrase, “Forgiveness is a dish best served hot.”
Lord, I’ve been forgiven greatly. Help me remember that and forgive others as You have forgiven me.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.