Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Forgiving Heart

"Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions."
Mark 11:25

Forgiveness is at the heart of our faith. Because God is willing to forgive, we can come to Him and confess our sins, knowing that He is faithful to "forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray to the Father, He included the words, "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us" (Luke 11:4). Forgiving someone who has wounded us is difficult, especially if the offender shows no remorse. But Jesus didn't say to forgive only those who say they're sorry. He taught us to forgive "anything against anyone". Our forgiveness is not dependent upon what the other person does or doesn't do. We must choose to forgive, because the Lord told us to. And because if we don't, God can't forgive us. This is a hard teaching to accept, but God's word clearly lays it out for us. An unforgiving heart becomes bitter and hard. And a hard heart cannot fully appreciate the forgiveness of God, nor extend it to others. Choose to forgive the one who has hurt you. Ask God to help you do it. If you are willing, He will give you to ability to forgive that person and experience the indescribable freedom that comes from a forgiving heart.

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