Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 21, 24, 26, & 28 – And God said . . .
Okay, so here are the scenarios. A brother in the Lord slaps your face. You must turn the other cheek, and forgive him, whether he asks or not. “You talking to me?” A fellow member of your home church falls on your property through no fault of your own, but he sues you in court. Regardless of the outcome, you must forgive him. “You talking to me?” Someone deliberately lies about you, causing you great stress and anguish. But he doesn’t stop there. He tells the same lie to 200 other people, attempting to totally destroy your reputation and influence. Oh, and he does all that in one day. You must forgive him. “You talking to me?” The answer to all three queries is a resounding “Yes!” You see, that’s what the Scriptures command of us.
Mark 11:22-24 is truly and attention grabber when we realize that it is a command and not a suggestion. But the two verses that follow, Mark 11:25 & 26, are equally staggering in their own right. Consider what they say. If, when we are offended, we forgive, then our Father in heaven will forgive us. But if, when we are offended, we do not forgive, neither will our heavenly Father forgive us when we trespass. These are plain words. These are hard sayings. To forgive can often be one of the most difficult tasks you have ever undertaken. We need all the help we can get. The disciples of Jesus knew this, and knew it well. So, when Jesus taught His disciples on the topic of forgiveness, I find their response to Him absolutely intriguing. When Jesus told them to forgive, even when the offence is great and often repeated, their response was not, “But what about the other fellow?” They did not say, “Lord, help us overcome our emotions.” What did they say? They said, “Master, increase our faith.” They knew what is probably the greatest secret (though it should not be a secret) concerning forgiveness. It is a matter of faith. It is NOT a matter of feelings. It is NOT an emotional thing. It does NOT require that the offender repent, apologize, or ask for our forgiveness. Forgiveness is simply commanded, for without it, love doesn’t work, faith is useless, and if you have committed any offence, it will not be forgiven until you first forgive those who have trespassed against you. Whether the offence against you is heinous or minor, singular, or 70 x 7 (490) in one day, you must forgive. “You talking to me?” Whether it is one offender or an entire organization of people, you must forgive. “You talking to me?” Whether they are Christian or not, you must forgive. “You talking to me?” And again, the answer is the same. “Yes! God is talking to you!”
Manna for Today – Genesis 1; Psalm 119:89; Proverbs 4:20-23; Mark 11:22-26; Romans 3:4