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:IS THERE A SIN TO CONFESS? IS THERE A PROMISE TO CLAIM? IS THERE AN ATTITUDE TO CHANGE? IS THERE A COMMAND TO OBEY? IS THERE AN EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW? IS THERE A PRAYER TO PRAY? IS THERE AN ERROR TO AVOID? IS THERE A TRUTH TO BELIEVE? IS THERE SOMETHING TO PRAISE GOD FOR?
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.