And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25 (ESV)
How often have I grumbled a prayer, “God, please forgive so-and-so for what they did to me”? Or dutifully read my Bible passages for the day, found something that I thought was “wrong” and said “Aha! See? THEY aren’t supposed to act like THAT!”
Is forgiveness so far from judgment?
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:37-38 (ESV)
Hmmmm… Jesus tells me that whatever I give, I’ll get back. ARGH! Sometimes my actions won’t bring me sweetness and goodness. So what’s a person to do? THEY treat me badly. THEY sin against me. THEY THEY THEY……
God’s Word says that I am to forgive and not judge THEM. But implicit in that command is that I look at my actions. What did I do to make THEM act the way THEY did? Was I snarky? Did I snap, or lie, or … maybe it was my actions that caused the “sin” that I’ve asked God to forgive in someone else’s life.
I’m going to try to look inward before I ask forgiveness for someone else. I’m going to find out why I have that judgmental, hateful attitude towards the person, and I’m going to ask God to forgive me. After all, it’s what He tells me to do. And you know, I’ll bet that when I follow what He tells me to do, my attitudes and actions will change. Who knows? Maybe when I do that, it will lead someone to ask me why I act differently, and that will lead me to share the Gospel of Christ.
What can happen when one person decides to take personal responsibility for acting Biblically?