Step Away From the Altar
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.
Yesterday we talked about learning to pray together with other believers and how important that is for our abiding in Christ as individuals and as a Church. But we will struggle with our connection to God and find static in the lines of prayer if we have unresolved issues with fellow believers.
This is not a topic any of us find easy to talk about and yet it is incredibly important to our walk with God and our walking together as a Church body. If there is friction between members there will be tension in the Body. One of the difficult facets of this is that we don’t like to think that holding things against others as a sin that causes issues in our walk with the Lord. A lack of forgiveness is just as much of a sin as what we think was committed against us.
Jesus was telling His listeners that if we don’t take care of these grievances, our prayers won’t matter because our hearts aren’t in the right place. We are to go and take care of the relationship first. In fact in another sermon Jesus said that if we go to offer something to God and remember that someone has something against us, we are to go to them to be reconciled (Matthew 5:23-24). Jesus isn’t concerned with who has done the wrong but it is up to each of us to make sure the rift doesn’t continue.
To abide in Christ we can’t be fighting with the other branches attached to the Vine. We all know that it isn’t just us and the person we are at odds with that bear the scars of our infighting. It ripples amongst others as one person tells their friends and family what happened to them. Instead of working it out with the person, we try to build sides.
This breakdown in communication causes many problems within a church and it hurts our witness. This breakdown in relationships interferes with our prayers as a congregation. But if we humble ourselves and seek out those we have an issue with or that has an issue with us and honestly work on reconciling with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we will find that we are growing deeper into Him, individually and as a Church.
Making It Personal
Who do you have something against that you need to go to for reconciliation? Who has something against you that you need to resolve? Why have you let it go without trying to resolve it?
Making It Personal Kids
Why doesn’t Jesus want us to hold things against other people? Do you hold things against others? Who do you need to fix things with?
Father, we confess the times we have held things against brothers and sisters in Christ instead of resolving them. Give us the strength and courage to go to the other person and make things right for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.