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12 December 2011

The Essentials of Effective Prayer 12 December

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  Matt 6:12-15 (KJV)

Ouch! I don’t want to forgive her when she’s hurt me. It’s more fun to chew on her offense and get mad over and over again! But that’s not what Jesus tells me I need to do. I need to forgive.

When I stop to think about it, that makes sense. If you hurt me, I should be willing to forgive you. After all, when I hurt you, I want you to offer forgiveness. But it’s not all that easy to do. My human (sin) nature takes over and I want to write a list of all your offenses. That makes me feel justified in my anger. But is that what Jesus modeled? Did He write lists, or talk about how He was hurt? Of course not. He voluntarily went to the cross – just for me – and just for you.  And He makes it clear that I am to model His forgiving behavior. I need some work in this area. How about you?

How serious is this? Can we carry a grudge for the day? The week? The month? Can we worship properly if we have chosen the path of unforgiveness?

23  So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Matt 5:23-24 (ESV)

That’s pretty harsh! If I am unforgiving toward someone, I am not even to give an offering! Jesus takes this forgiving thing pretty seriously.

As I was writing this, my sin nature took over and I thought of a certain unforgiving person. I wondered if that person knew this verse. It’s so easy to look at someone else and say “See! Told you!” while pointing out a Biblical truth. I need to find out what I have against that person, because clearly I am unforgiving too. What steps do I need to take to become forgiving? Yikes. Convicted by the Bible!

2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matt 7:2-5 (ESV)

This subject is uncomfortable. It’s unfair to me in my sin nature, but of course if God puts an emphasis on it, it does not matter what I think!

I need to spend some time making a list – a list of those to whom I need to offer the unconditional forgiveness modeled by Jesus. Take some time in the next few days to really look at your life and see where you need to offer forgiveness. It’s a necessary, and probably painful, exercise. I’ll see you on Wednesday.


  1. Thank you Trysch, for a timely post! So, if the other person doesn't want to discuss what went on, just let it go and get on with things? If I dredge it up again it just harbors bad feelings - this will take soul searching and working through. Thank you! Karyn
    (don't know that this posted)

  2. Hi Karyn - You pose an interesting question: What is my responsibility when I am hurt but the person won’t discuss the issue?

    I think that the Bible speaks on this point.

    15  “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matt 18:15-20 (ESV)

    I am to talk to the person. If I can’t get resolution after one-on-one discussion (which includes that person not wanting to deal with the problem), then I need to take a couple people – and here I imagine that these would be people who have either witnessed the problem, or who are trustworthy and level headed; people who will fairly listen to all sides and helping come to a resolution.

    If there’s still a problem, then we are to go to the church body. If you cannot get resolution, it’s time to bring the church family into it. Let both side give their perspective and then through prayer, search of Scripture and counsel, solve the matter. The Bible has the answer for just about every problem man comes up with. So in the end, the Word will be the final arbiter.

    But if the person is still acting the same way after being shown the error of his ways via Scripture… we are to walk away. The King James translates verse 17 this way:

    And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Matt 18:17 (KJV)

    This tells us what to do, but it still doesn’t resolve our heart issue. I think that if we follow this Biblical mandate, and if the person chooses to continue on the same path, our consciences can be clear as to our actions. Then, even though we don’t “win” and get resolution, we can offer our forgiveness obediently. God is then able to soften our hearts toward the person.

    I personally believe that we have many problems in life because we skip the first command. We go right from being angry to taking it to others. We don’t give the other person time to see our point. We assume that they will not listen, and we want to justify ourselves, so we bring in our friends – and not always people who are going to listen fairly. We bring in those who we think will agree with us. We need to examine all aspects of the “wrong” to see if our behavior had an impact. And always, we are not responsible for others’ actions; we are only responsible for our own.

    This one is difficult for me, too. That’s why the first study in the new year will be on forgiveness!