Verse 25 “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Our verse today is another important piece of the prayer puzzle. If we are truly wanting God to hear our prayers and live the way He wants us to, we need to be in good standing with Him by not letting unforgiveness divide us. It is so easy to hold onto hurts and not offer the forgiveness He has so graciously given to us.
When we decide to hold onto the hurts and give up relationships, we are living in a selfish way. Of course that isn’t how we want to view it, we think we deserve to be upset and convince ourselves quite easily that we don’t need that person in our lives. We think about what they have done to us and allow ourselves to become quite self-righteous about the whole situation. We dig the hole and plant the seed of bitterness deep enough that nothing can touch it and we build a fence around it and don’t let anyone criticize the fact that we have it.
Yes, we all know what it means to withhold forgiveness, but we should also know how that lack of forgiveness is actually causing a fracture in our relationship with Jesus. It isn’t that He will cut us off totally, but we can’t have a good relationship with Him if we are continuing to feed and water the bitterness tree in the garden of our hearts. The roots of bitterness will grow quickly and it won’t be long before they are choking out the roots of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
The problem is once we have allowed the roots of bitterness to take root, it is harder to remove them and they have to be taken out with great intention. If we don’t make sure we are clearing every portion of the root, it will come back. But the first step is wanting to get rid of it. Too often we have decided we are never going to let the pain go, but what if Jesus held that same stance with us?
How many times have we told the Lord we are sorry for doing this or that and yet do it again and again? Does He become bitter with us and withhold forgiveness? Of course He doesn’t, nor does He want us to do that to others. Our prayers for forgiveness of sins should remind us of the forgiveness others deserve and we should forgive them wholeheartedly. The release we will feel from forgiving will give us more reason to praise Him for the work He is doing in us to make us new.
Making It Personal
Who do you need to forgive? Has your lack of forgiveness caused you to become bitter where the mere mention of that person’s name makes your blood boil? Are you going to forgive them?
Making It Personal Kids
Do you have someone you need to forgive? Do you like to forgive others? Do you want Jesus to forgive you?
Father, thank You for Your forgiveness. We ask Your forgiveness for the way we have withheld forgiveness from others. Please give us forgiving hearts and wisdom to know how to seek forgiveness for things we have done to wrong others. In Jesus’ name, amen.