“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25
It becomes apparent that our Lord reminds us the importance of forgiveness. The account of the holy week and teachings of our Lord serve as a reminder that forgiveness is a virtue of our Lord. Too often I believe that we fail to acknowledge the virtue of forgiveness which must prevail in the life of the believer. Our verse this morning sheds light on this topic. It is far easier for the believer to find peace in knowing that his or her sins have been forgiven by the Father; but how do we react when the words of our verse today implies the responsibility of forgiving others first? What are the implications if we fail to perform this act of forgiveness to others? What are the benefits? Will God hold me accountable for failure to extend forgiveness? Well I am confident that we could present several defenses to acclaim our self righteousness and why we fail to extend the mercy toward others. What is our Lord teaching us? I would propose three thoughts for continued discussion.
First, emulating the attribute of God’s forgiveness or mercy. What we are addressing is the mercy of God that the believer enjoys in fellowship with his Lord. If God was only to impart justice; all of humanity would be miserably hopeless. Our failure to extend forgiveness demands that justice must be served. Anyone here prepared to live under that requirement? Forgiveness is an integral virtue of our Lord extending pity and restoring humanity back into its original created state (2 Peter 3:9). The supreme expression of God’s goodness is the mercy and available forgiveness which has been demonstrated through the cross. of Calvary by our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22-24; 5:5-8; 8:32-39; Ephesians 2:1-10; 3:14-18; 5:25-27) . Extending forgiveness toward others requires the believer to “deny oneself and pick up his own cross” (Matthew 16:24-26; Luke 9:23)). It is my prayer that I might perform this extension of forgiveness.
Second, forgiveness restores the offense and offender. This not a platform for you to claim self righteousness. Many fail at this level when dealing with other believers. Have you ever heard that another Christian can be another’s worst enemy? Pride can be an attitude in which the Christian can do well at his or her workplace environment but often becomes a downfall when extending restoration. I believe the letter of James can offer some insight in the area of biblical restoration.. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (5:16). We are quick to use the latter half of this verse when praying for others, but there is a more significant truth at the beginning. Confession brings about healing. It would behoove us to perform the actions found in Hebrews 5:2.. “He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness.” I think you get the point. Forgiveness seeks love above everything else and restoration which glorifies God (1 Cor. 13).
Thirdly, forgiveness is beneficial for our own lives. I touched on this thought in the previous paragraph; but it deserves more attention. While seeking restoration may be an element of forgiveness; the benefit of extending forgiveness serves to make us more Christ like.. We will all battle with the presence of sin until we are taken from this life into the next. Until then, we are to be portrayals of the life which now presides in the believer. Our forgiveness toward others does not solely hinge on God’s forgiveness toward us; but learning this principle can enable the Christian to experience life more abundantly (1 John 1:4). Please feel free to add additional comments. Grace and peace.