God Wants Us to Forgive
"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. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses." (Mark 11:25-26)
A soft knock sounded on Michele's door, and she rolled her eyes. She knew it was her sister, Joy. "Come in," she mumbled.
"Michele?" Joy's nose was all red from crying. "I'm sorry I played with your necklace and broke it. I'll buy you a new one just as soon as I save up enough money. Would you please forgive me?"
Michele sighed. Why did Joy always have to be so quick to apologize? She did not want to accept Joy's apology yet. She was still angry about the necklace. "I'm not ready to forgive you yet," she said. "Come back later, when I've had more time to think about it." Michele turned her back on Joy, and she heard a little sob as Joy quietly shut her door.
Several times in the Gospels, Jesus talked to His followers about the importance of forgiveness. He even told them that if they would not forgive each other, their prayers would be hindered (stopped or slowed down), and God would not forgive them. Why is it so important to God that we forgive each other?
In Matthew 18, Jesus told a story to explain why forgiveness is so important. A servant owed his master a debt that he could never repay. He would have to spend thousands of lifetimes working to earn that kind of money! The master graciously forgave the debt out of his great compassion for his servant. Then that same servant went out, found a man who owed him much less money, and demanded that he pay it all. When the debtor pleaded for forgiveness, the servant said no and threw the man into prison. That servant had forgotten how much he had been forgiven!
Christians have been forgiven of a sin-debt that is billions and trillions of times greater than anything they could ever repay. God has forgiven us because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross. That is why forgiveness is so important to God. By forgiving others, we show that we have not forgotten what God has done for us. Forgiving others is one way that we can be like God and demonstrate (show) His compassion.
If you were Michele, what would you do? Would you sit angrily in your room thinking bitter thoughts about Joy? Or would you run to find her with a heart full of God's love and forgiveness?
God wants us to forgive because He has forgiven us of the greatest debt ever.
» Is there anyone I'm refusing to forgive?
» What will I do about it today?
Truth In Real Life
Robert Murray M'Cheyne
“I am deeply persuaded that there will be no full, soul-filling, heart-ravishing, heart-satisfying outpouring of the Spirit of God till there be more praise and thanking the Lord.”
Robert Murray M’Cheyne – one of Scotland’s greatest preachers – lived a very short life. His influence, however, would live on for years to come.
By age four, Robert Murray M’Cheyne knew the Greek alphabet. At age eight, he entered high school. At age 14, he entered the University of Edinburgh, where his good grades earned him many awards. One day, he gave his life to Christ, and eventually he was ordained to preach.
While he was growing up, Robert Murray M’Cheyne had been a “good boy,” but he did not truly know Jesus Christ. Instead of a relationship with God, Robert relied on how smart he was and how hard he worked. But when his brother died suddenly, eighteen-year-old Robert Murray M’Cheyne realized the shortness of life, and he put all his trust in Christ alone for salvation. His brother’s death had a profound effect on the rest of Robert’s choices and he began using his intelligence to learn long sections of Scripture.
As a preacher, his fame spread quickly through his homeland of Scotland, and his church grew to over 1,100 people. He took a special interest in helping the Jews and did everything possible to win Jewish souls to Christ.
Mr. M’Cheyne was only thirty years old when he died on March 25, 1843, of the typhoid fever. Though he was actually in ministry for only seven years, he left an impact on Scotland for the rest of eternity. He often said, “Live so as to be missed!” And so he did.
Are you using the gifts God gave you (your intellect, your physical energy, etc.) to glorify Him? Are you a thankful, praising person? Are you living for Christ now, or are you waiting to grow up? Are you living so as to be missed?
1 Timothy 4:12 – Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.