March Like Jesus
… In Our Praying – Part IV
Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:5-18
Key Verse: Matthew 6:15
“But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
As I close out our study on The Lord’s Prayer, I want to look at the only footnote that Jesus gave at the end of His model prayer.
It has always surprised me that so many know The Lord’s Prayer but do not see Jesus’s footnote or at least do not think He really means what it says. If we believe that God inspires the Bible (all of it), then we must take serious Jesus’ words in our Key Verse for today.
When God forgives us so generously, what would He think about anyone that does not generously forgive others? Jesus says clearly that our Father will not forgive us of our sins if we do not forgive others their sins.
Here is a parable Jesus told in Matthew 18 about God’s feelings toward anyone who doesn’t pay forward His forgiveness and generosity to others:
“Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.” (Matthew 18:27)
This man forgiven by his master did not pass the forgiveness on to someone who owed him money. Here is how Jesus ended the parable:
“Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you? Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. That’s what My heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.” (Matthew 18:33-35)
If that does not get a “wow” from you, I am not sure you believe what you have read. Every time I read it, I am more determined to deal with any conflicts in my life with my wife or anyone else quickly and generously.
Remember, biblical forgiveness is not something you feel in your heart but something you do from your heart. This means that we can forgive someone from our hearts, and really mean it, but our emotions and feelings may take time to align with our words.
As Christ-followers, we must deal with the fact that our feelings do not always align with our decisions to follow Jesus’ instructions, but we must obey anyway… right?
When we are forgiving someone, the evil one often brings these emotions and feelings back to us repeatedly. We must continue to resist them, take them captive and remove them from our thoughts.
When the evil one tempts us to tell someone of our hurts and who did it, we must control our tongue and refuse to relive the situation. Retelling only rekindles the negative feelings we are trying to eliminate.
May God help us all to be generous forgivers!
Father, remind me, when I get hurt feelings, how generous Your forgiveness is to me, and help me to be quick to forgive and move on! I pray this in Jesus’s Name, amen.