Mark 11:25

Day 18

Mark 11:25 NIV

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Let’s again keep these questions before our hearts as we ponder this Scripture:


 I find that in my almost 21 years of ministry un-forgiveness seems to be one of the things we often excuse of ourselves.  We look at the injustices done to us or to those we love and we explain away our need to forgive based upon the degree of offence. However, I have always struggled with this idea because I find no Biblical basis for it.

Even in the most painful moments of my life, in moment of abuse, betrayal, or severe injustice nothing I have faced has ever been more offensive than the cross that carried an innocent man for me.  Nothing even comes close.  Often my situations have resulted in my humanity and not exercising wisdom, but even in the cases where it has been plain injustice, I stand as one who is not innocent.  I have in my life through poor choices, brought injustice into someone else’s life.  I have made incorrect judgements that have hurt others.  I have failed friends at times when I wanted to do them good.  So, if all of my attempts to do right still produces pain in someone else’s life, how can I concluded that someone who hurts me does it intentionally? Yet, even if they do, I must forgive.

Forgiveness is a tricky thing, only because we are excuse makers. If we want to be Truth Bearers then it is not complicated.  I must forgive if I am to be forgiven.  Does that mean that if I refuse to forgive or I place degrees on sin and excuse myself from forgiving certain sins, that I too, will not be forgiven by the One who never fails?

There is a lot to consider here. For me, this is a command that must be obeyed.  This journey is about mercy.  I have needed mercy so I must choose to give mercy.  When I fail to forgive, I place myself as judge over someone else’s life and position my own life for judgement.  If I release mercy, I plant seeds for my own moment of need.  When I  need mercy because at some point I will fail, then a harvest of mercy is granted to me because I have been merciful.  This is not an option for the believer.  For Freda, it is a command.  She must obey if she is to live under the covering and liberty of forgiveness in her own life.

Jesus is our example and he demonstrates that even the most offensive sin can be forgiven.  He reveals through his perfect, sinless life that caused darkness to fall and isolation to prevail that forgiveness can rise out of that place and change the world.  Imagine, if I choose to be a woman of forgiveness that I could actually have an impact that could affect many.  I want to follow His example.

There is an error for me to avoid.  It is the error that presents itself in self righteousness. It says, “You are not as bad as that guy, and you would never do something like that.”  It is self deception.  Apart from the grace of God, I am capable of  total wickedness.  I am not good because Freda is good.  I am only good because Christ is in me, the hope of glory.  I refuse to  play a game with my life.  I know who I am apart from Him.  I also know what I am because of Him.  I am loved and forgiven.  I will love and forgive even when the offence is huge.  He loved me to deliverance.  Maybe because of what I have received, He can empower me to do the same.

I praise God that I am forgiven.  I praise God for His mercy.  I thank Him that He has given me what I need to be one who lives out of mercy and in the power of forgiveness.  May that power be seen in this life.


  1. Reply
    Sue says:

    The big little verse …“We must forgive to be forgiven”. This one is so easy to overlook (unless you are reading the Amplified version).
    In reality, it is the key to everything. One of the first lessons we learn as a youngster in church is the Lord’s prayer. And just before the end of it is, “Forgive us for doing wrong,
as we forgive others.”. (Matthew 6:12) Probably because Matthew knew the joy & importance of forgiveness, he added a few more lines of Christ’s teaching after the ‘Amen’. “If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (verses 14 & 15)
    I can’t think of much that is more vital to my Christian life. Unforgiveness drives a wedge in my fellowship with others and with God Himself. It starts as a tiny fissure, a hairline crack and quickly becomes a mile wide gap. But most importantly, forgiveness of others is part of an agreement with my heavenly Father.
    “I forgive … He forgives.”
    The first thing that comes to mind is, do I want that separation between God and myself? I’m reminded of what it took to remove that separation in the first place … His life-blood. I can’t look at or harbor unforgiveness without seeing the cross and the price paid for my own forgiveness.
    I agree that this is one area that I also excel in making (even inventing) excuses for. It is as if I am trying to convince myself that if I can shift the onus onto ‘the other guy’ then I’m ok. The blame game is convenient but it doesn’t work! I know … I’ve tried it. I can say that he/she doesn’t deserve my forgiveness, he/she doesn’t want my forgiveness, or their wrongdoing is too big to forgive. But none of that works for someone claiming to be a child of God.
    Humility reminds me that I did & do not deserve forgiveness. The only way I have received & enjoyed forgiveness is through my heavenly Father’s grace and mercy. I’m humbled when I think of the tremendous love that it required for my heavenly Father allow His Son to die a torturous death on a cross for me … someone who didn’t even know Him. It isn’t as if I asked for His forgiveness and then He decided to send Jesus to the cross on my behalf. He forgave when I were still steeped in ignorance. “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” And the size of my sin didn’t matter to Him … He forgave. I John 1:9 says that He forgives us from all sin. He doesn’t qualify it. There is nothing I can do that shocks Him into not forgiving. He’s already seen it all.
    So where does this leave me? With no excuse. There are days when I find myself falling into the trap of unforgiveness … whether it is a new offense or an old one rearing it’s ugly head. During those times I need to take myself back to the cross and look up. There I need to face the reality that I love Him because He first loved me … and I need to forgive because, for me, without doing so I am mocking His sacrifice on my behalf.
    The sin … unforgiveness is always a sin. It is one I need to examine myself for often. The cost is too high. The promise … if I confess my sin of unforgiveness He is faith & just to forgive me. The attitude to change … self-righteousness. If, after Christ’s sacrifice on my behalf, that someone else’s sin is too much to forgive, then I have taken on a self righteous attitude. The command … forgive. The example … Jesus. The prayer … “Father teach me to have me a heart of forgiveness … Your heart.” The error … pride. The truth to believe … today’s verse. Something to praise God for … undeserved forgiveness.

  2. Reply
    Susan Craig says:

    I’m sorry-I was wrong-please forgive me-all small sentences but so difficult for us to say and mean it when we do. It calls for us to be humble but also to act in a direct way to seek forgiveness when we have been wrong. I must confess this one has been a struggle for me-not in the vertical relationship between God and myself but in the horizontal relationships between others and myself-especially within my family. This week I received an email from my sister that set me off on a flurry of emails to respond-my response was harsh and critical and I can only say that reading this lesson everyday and responding to it is alot easier than actually putting it into practice in my life. After reading this lesson today,the Lord spoke to me very plainly in my heart that I was wrong-that my response was quick and judgemental and self righteous and hurtful. I have to admit that I did not stop to pray and think about how my response was going to be received before I wrote and sent it. I was hurt and angry and responded out of those feelings -responded from my flesh-instead of waiting on God to show me what He would want me to say. I have no excuse because I have been taught better the past few weeks and I blew it big time!! So after I read this verse and comments this AM I knew what was needed. I had to humble myself and seek forgiveness. I was so sure I was right in what I wrote but I really wasn’t because I did damage to the relationship I have with my sister and hurting someone else is never right. I sent her off an email and now I wait for her response and pray that God forgives me and that she will too. Putting Christianity into practice is alot harder than it may seem on the surface. I am only hoping that my self-righteous attitude and actions have not put a permanent wedge between my sister and I. Thanking the Lord for His word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit when we read it and hear God’s message to us as individuals.

    • Reply
      Sue says:

      I so appreciate your honesty and humility expressed here. It is an expression of our theme verse for the year … “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chron. 7:14)
      I have to agree with you. Those three phrases are difficult to swallow … I’m sorry … I was wrong … please forgive me. Probably the three main ingredients in humble pie. I think part of it is that it puts me in a vulnerable place to say them. It is as if I’ve dropped my shield and put away my weapons of self-defence and have made myself vulnerable to rejection and/or attack. I tend to forget that more than once our heavenly Father has promised to be my rear guard … to ‘have my back’. (Is. 52:12. 58:8) I know that you’ve brought a smile to His face and He has your back. 🙂
      Some of the more valuable lessons that I have learned these past few years is that 1) we are all on a journey and 2) how we start isn’t as important as how we finish. I would say that in this situation you are finishing very well. Will be praying for continued healing in your relationship with your sister.

      • Reply
        Susan Craig says:

        Thank you Sue-I just got a 2 word email from my sister-“apology accepted” The Lord sure does have our backs when we fall down on our faces before HIm!! Guess I may eat some more humble pie in the future-this feeling tonight is sooo great!!!!!

        • Reply
          Sue says:

          YES!!! (Grinning … with fist pounding the air)

  3. Reply
    Jim Holmes says:

    We must forgive to be forgiven. Mark 11:25
    I would like to takes a look at a more elaborate description of Mark and surrounding passages…, that is 24-26 which reads:

    24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them.25 And when you stand praying, forgive, if you have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

    Jesus was born to be the Savior of mankind. When Jesus came, He came desiring you and I…a treasure for His Father…a treasure found in the field call earth. In all ways He was tempted, as we are, yet without sin. I found it quite interesting to think of Jesus as our sin bearer…who bore your and my sin…. Here, the One that had never sinned took my sin. What is striking is this…that at Jesus’ death, my sin upon Him, and His Father turned away from this horror, and yet Jesus was given the name above every name, and He ascended to His Father and your Father.

    Now, I was thinking about this…that many times Jesus forgave people of their sins…like the man that was let down through the roof in front of Him. And Jesus told us that We must forgive to be forgiven by our Father who is in heaven. So I picture this…Jesus on the Cross…having “forgiven you and I” and everyone….as He said on the cross…”Forgive them for they do not know what they do”….Jesus who bore our sin, forgave us while He lived amongst us, which opened the door for His Father to forgive HIM. Through death the penalty of our sin was dealt with, and because Jesus forgave all, His Father could not withhold forgiving Jesus tainted with our sins…thereby Jesus became “the Way” to the Father.

    Considering what Jesus did for us…in Him…if we are a part of Him (His body)….we MUST forgive. To have such a forgiving heart will cause us to be a humble…humble people. Know that we have been crucified with Him…that we rise with Him…made like Him. Unforgiveness is to be… outside of Him, and separated from the Father, If our sin remains with us, then is not death imminent? Consider then, Him who died for us.

    Furthermore, the scriptures say, if we disobey just one little bit of the law, then we are just as guilty as if we broke all the law. Look around at the horror of all the sin from killing, stealing, lust, etc….and think about it, that you are just as guilty of it all, if you stole somebody’s cookie. So let us forgive one another…because Jesus forgave us. We recognize that in Jesus, we inherit Eternal Life. That in Jesus we are called to “love”…to “forgive”. They will know that we are Christians by our love. Salvation is for all…all who will come to know Jesus, and Life Eternal. Remember…that we were lost, but now are found. Hear the command…Forgive. God Bless.
    S – JESUS BORE OUR SIN…confess that we are sorry for our sin
    P – a promise to claim is that…If we forgive, God will forgive us.
    A – pray that we might be more like Jesus
    C – Forgive, and forgive
    E – let us be more like Jesus…our example
    P – pray that God would reveal any unforgiveness in our lives
    E – Do not error by holding back forgiveness from someone
    T – If we do not forgive, God will not forgive us.
    S – Something to praise God for…is His kindness

    • Reply
      Susan Craig says:

      Jim-I actually followed your reasoning in this-maybe I am getting smarter after all-not as smart as you tho! 🙂

  4. Reply
    Pat McRae says:

    These days I find it easier to forgive others, but not so easy to forgive myself. In my younger years if you annoyed me I was not quick to forgive and forgetting was unheard of. Anger, bitterness and hatred ruled in those days. But thank You Jesus I have matured a little in this area. I am still working on the forgiving myself area but even here I am a little kinder to me then in the past.
    For along time I lived in condemnation because I thought forgiving meant I should also forget what had happened. The forgetting just didn’t seem to happen. It has taken time for me to sort out this dilemma but I think I have. To forgive in my books means I hold no bad feelings or attitudes towards those who I assume have offended me. When the enemy comes along to create havoc and reminds me about the offence I know I have forgiven when I can:
    1) Say YEP! they did do x,y and z with no anger, hurt or bitterness.
    2) Not dwell on the details of the offence but can move on in my thoughts to something else.
    3) And when from my heart I can bless them and be happy for them when I see them blessed.
    I always try to remember my Father has had to forgive me a multitude of sins and has extended His grace and mercy and love to me so I can extend it to others.

    • Reply
      Susan Craig says:

      When ever I think of forgiving someone else,I remember a story from The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom-I recommend you read it if you haven’t already. What she and her sister Betsy endured in the concentration camp was horrible and unforgettable. Her sister died there. She tells a story of meeting one of the guards from that camp years later after she was released and was telling her story in churches in North America. The guard came up to her telling her he was a christian now and asked for forgiveness. At that moment,all the horror of what was endured in the concentration camp washed over her. She tells how she had to pray for God to forgive the guard because she couldn’t at that time. I also heard stories of people who forgave the murderers of their loved ones. Granting forgiveness is very difficult when we have been hurt so bad, humanly speaking, that will never be forgotten in this life. Look at what Jesus had to go through so that God the father could forgive us!! I believe granting forgiveness is the one of the most difficult things we ever have to do in this life. It is not humanly possible to forgive the way God has forgiven us-But with God all things are possible and maybe asking God to forgive them is the first place to start. I do not know the details of your life but I have struggled with forgiveness my whole life and all the negative emotions that go with being hurt by someone else and I still struggle today but everyday I am one day closer to being the forgiving person God wants me to be.Someday I will be there-but only with God’s help. Don’t give up hope!!

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