January 19, 2009

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. [But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.] Mark 11:25-26

Faith works through love (Galatians 5:6). Faith can’t work unless we let go of all bitterness and walk in love. Jesus said that, after loving God, the greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39). There is no way around forgiveness; God has made it imperative for every Christian.

We all deal with offense at some point, but the greatest hindrance to faith is harboring resentment. When my prayers seem hindered, God reminds me to check up on my love walk. If even Jesus on the cross said “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34), how important is it for us to forgive in our daily lives—even one person several times a day!

Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22)

Don’t let your actions toward people be based on what they did to you. Instead, consider how great a debt of sin God has forgiven you. In comparison, every other offense is small (Matthew 18:21-35). You don’t have to be a doormat and let people take advantage of you, but you do have to forgive. Turn your hurt into a prayer and stir yourself up to walk in love.

We are called to impact our culture—don’t let the sabotage of unforgiveness cripple your effectiveness. Christianity has to work where the rubber meets the road. That’s how people will know we are followers of something real: “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Don’t wait for your flesh to feel like forgiving—choose the path of love today.

Thank God for His forgiveness!

Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church®

Copyright © 2009 St. Louis Family Church. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted or distributed in any form without prior written permission of St. Louis Family Church. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.