11 Feb Day 19
Scripture: Mark 11:25 NLT- “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”
Observation: In this verse, Jesus is explaining to his disciples that before we even approach God, asking for forgiveness for our sins, we should forgive others for the things that they have done to us. When we forgive others, it clears the pathway towards God’s forgiveness of our wrongdoings.
Application: As a kid, I spent a lot of time hanging out with my cousins. On the weekends, we would typically talk one of our parents into allowing all of us to come over, eat all of their food, drink all of their soda, and ruin all of their weekend plans. I vividly remember one of the sleepovers that took place when I was somewhere around the age of six or seven years old, because that particular weekend was a bit different. Typically these events were exclusive to cousins, but that weekend my cousin had invited a friend over.
Now, if you know me, you will agree that I am not an overly social person. I doubt anyone has ever referred to me as a “social butterfly,” and that’s okay because if the situation calls for it, I can step out of my shell a bit. However, this kid was annoying! I mean, always jumping into conversations, taking up most of my cousin’s time, and the icing on the cake—constantly taking the toys I was playing with. At the end of the weekend, my mom picked me up and asked me how the sleepover had been. I recounted for her the many ways in which this kid had ruined everything. I put extra emphasis when it came time to explain the toy taking part, but I remember my mom asking two questions that still stick with me to this day:
• Who paid for that toy?
• Was the toy yours to hold onto?
I‘m going to go out on a limb here and say that you have experienced heartache and pain in your life at some point because someone has wronged you. I’ve been in that same position, and I understand how awful it can feel. I’m ashamed to admit that in some of those moments I‘ve stood in front of God just like that seven-year-old kid, holding on to forgiveness, not wanting to share. Maybe you can relate? Maybe a spouse has cheated on you. Or a coworker lied about you. It’s possible that you had a childhood that was filled with hurt and pain. If you have been wronged, you may be hesitant or even unwilling to forgive the one who has hurt you, and I completely understand, but let me ask you two questions:
• Who paid for that forgiveness?
• Is the forgiveness yours to hold onto?
Take some time to think about the price that was paid for you to receive forgiveness. If we expect forgiveness from our Heavenly Father, then isn’t forgiveness something that we should extend to others? When you pray, ask God to help heal your heart and to forgive those who have wronged you.
Prayer: Gracious and Heavenly Father, I thank you for forgiving me of my sin when I didn’t even deserve it. Help me to understand that forgiveness is not mine to keep to myself. I pray that I would die daily to the temptation to hold onto resentment and bitterness. I pray that you continue to work in me to complete what you have started and to break the barriers that are holding me back from what you desire for my life. Thank you for sending your Son as the ultimate example of grace. Amen!
- If you are struggling with forgiveness, and you aren’t yet plugged in, then find a J-Team area to serve on, a J-Group to join, and attend one of the gatherings during the weekends. When you connect with people who are heading in the same direction as you, you are able to share your burden and overcome your pain.
- Take time during your Slot and Spot to think about anything or anyone that you have had a spirit of unforgiveness towards and ask God to soften your heart in that area.
- Read Romans 5:8 and meditate on the implications that this verse has on forgiveness, and how we should model the example of Jesus when it comes to extending it to others.
Tom Pine/ Stewardship and Giving J-Teamer
Tom has been gathering at The Journey since 2015. Once Tom connected with a J-Group and started serving on the J-Team, all of the pieces started to fall into place. This spring, Tom and his wife are leading the God First Challenge: Continuing to Give J-Group.