Mark 11:25 – “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.”
Forgiveness is the cornerstone of salvation. Forgiveness is sought and received, faith is established, salvation is cemented in and hope is built.
My initial prayer, acknowledging my sin and that Jesus had paid the cost of it, was received by God and forgiveness was granted. His forgiveness covered every bad thing I had ever done and every bad thought I ever had regardless of whether I could remember them or even appreciate what they were. As time went on and God’s word was studied, I became more aware of all the things that displeased God and were sinful in his eyes and my prayers for forgiveness became more detailed. To come before God in true repentance is sometimes an emotional experience but it is always followed by a calmness and peace.
Life continued and difficult experiences take place, hurt and pain take root and I find that I cannot forgive the wrong being done to me. I still approached the throne of grace with the same expectancy of God’s forgiveness but sometimes the peace does not follow. I say the Lord’s prayer in church along with everyone else but when it comes to ‘forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us’, I can barely get the words out passed the lump in my throat.
Unforgiveness has such a debilitating force, spiritually, physically and mentally. Within the midst of it all there is a constant gentle voice telling me that I need to forgive, I need to hand it over, I need to let go because the only person being hurt by my unforgiveness is me; withheld forgiveness is the devil’s snare. I think I find forgiveness hard because there is no apology or no request to be forgiven; there is no repentance. God requires repentance so why shouldn’t I? But it doesn’t work like that. I am seeking a deep personal relationship with God and I don’t want any obstacles to be in the way of that. Jesus tells me, “if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” I need His forgiveness, and that need is so much greater than my need to withhold forgiveness.
The lesson in this is not to let the devil trap you in the maze of pain, hurt and resentment but to fully trust in Jehovah Rapha to bring healing and to allow his unquestioning forgiveness to restore wholeness and peace to your life.