Life on the Go For Dads
Written by Harrison House
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
These verses illustrate what is perhaps the best reason for our being forgiving people. Jesus makes it clear that if we don't forgive others, we aren't forgiven by God. How we treat others is a major factor in determining the quality of our relationship with God. Even our prayer life is affected when our attitudes toward others are not right.
In Mark chapter 11, when Jesus is teaching about mountain-moving faith, He concludes by saying that if we hold anything against anyone, we must forgive them. If we want our prayers to have power, we cannot hold grudges or harbor bitterness. In Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus tells us that before we offer a gift to God, if we have a grievance against anyone, we need to be reconciled with them. Then God will accept our gift.
If you are holding a grudge against anyone right now, or if you are in strife with anyone, consider this. You could be opening a door for the enemy to come in and destroy your life, marriage, family, or friendships. In 2 Corinthians 2:10-11, Paul talks about forgiving the sinner after the church disciplines him. He says, "And what I have forgiven…I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes." Paul reveals that by withholding forgiveness we can give the devil an advantage over us.
I decided long ago that harboring resentment just isn't worth it. My relationship with God and my prayers are too valuable to me. Maybe you feel you have a right to withhold forgiveness from someone. But if you belong to the Lord, you gave up your rights when you became a member of His family.
Colossians 3:13 says, "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." How can we refuse to forgive others when God has so graciously forgiven us? Today, the Savior is reaching out to you and asking, "Won't you do it for Me?"
PrayerLord, forgive me for all the times I've harbored resentment toward others. Give me a heart like Yours so that I may be quick to forgive. When I'm tempted to hold anything against anyone, remind me how graciously You have forgiven me. Give me the grace and the wisdom to avoid conversations and situations that might lead to strife. Thank You that as I practice forgiveness, I will be blessed with a closer relationship with You!
Source: Life On The Go Devotional For Dads
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers