“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” — Mark 11:25-26 (KJV)
We talked about this in church yesterday morning, and it’s been on my heart ever since. So why not blog about it, right?
I’m not usually the type to hold grudges against people… or so I thought. I’ve tried to be nice to people, even if I’ve felt that they’ve wronged me. At the same time, though, I would still hold something against them. I would still look at them in a different way, because of whatever happened between us.
As nice as I can try to be to them, however, that’s not true forgiveness.
My pastor said yesterday that “to forgive someone means to excuse someone from a fault, to cancel out a debt.” When a debt is canceled out, everything is restored to normal, to the way that things were at the beginning. It gives a person a fresh start.
My pastor also said, though, that forgiveness is free. Trust, however, has to be earned.
Let’s go back to the debt analogy. If you have a credit card on which you have $5,000 worth of debt, and you’ve missed the last couple of payments, you can still wipe out the debt with one huge, lump sum payment. The bank will let you keep using the card, just like nothing happened. (That’s forgiveness.) In order to protect against something like that happening in the future, though, the bank might increase the interest rate until you’ve proven yourself responsible again. (That’s where one has to earn trust.)
But the fact of the matter is, if I won’t forgive people that have wronged me, then God won’t forgive me when I’ve sinned against Him. That might sound bad, but if I’m not willing to do something for my brother, then why should I expect my Father to do the same thing for me? That’s just hypocritical, in my opinion.
I’m not perfect. So I can’t expect anyone else to be perfect either.
In that case, it only makes sense to have forgiveness in my heart towards my brother. And, as a result, my Father will have forgiveness in his heart towards me.
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