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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood



Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (Mark 11:24,25, NIV)

A very embittered man who had suffered greatly at the hands of others said, “If you could lick my heart you would die of poison.”

When we do not forgive, our hearts become the repository of anger and bitterness. Jesus knows this. That’s why He connects faith to forgiveness.

Remember the context for these verses that invite us to pray and ask largely. Jesus had cursed the fig tree on one day, and when the disciples saw it withered the next day they were amazed. Jesus uses their astonishment as a teaching moment.

First, He invites them, and us, to not see prayer as something rote and mechanical — but to believe that our prayers will be answered. However, not every prayer is answered because not every prayer should be prayed. We could misuse prayer to seek the punishment of others: “Lord, You know so-and-so has hurt me deeply — so please visit them with divine chastisement.” NO! That is not the kind of wide door that Jesus opens when He says, Whatever you ask in faith will happen.

Forgiveness is the necessary twin of faith. You cannot pray to God and harbor unforgiveness toward another. Why? Because it is in the character of God to forgive. How can the Lord forgive you if you are unwilling to forgive others? Why would He put His nature — the Christ-filled life — into you if you are unwilling to follow in His steps?

Make no mistake. Forgiveness is not easy. If I break something valuable of yours and you forgive me, then you are picking up the tab on what I broke. It means you are releasing me from the debt I owe you. Therefore, forgiveness is only for strong people.

On the cross, Jesus picks up the tab for the sin of the whole world. In fact, His first statement from the cross is, “Forgive them.”

Is there anyone you have not forgiven? Anyone you would still like to pay “a pound of flesh” for what they did to you?

The modern translations of Mark omit a verse found in the King James Version because that verse is not supported by the best Greek manuscripts. But it logically applies the implications of Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness: “But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:26, KJV).

That’s really very good news because Jesus teaches us that we can have assurance of God’s forgiveness as we forgive others.

You may be struggling with forgiveness because of the depth of pain another has caused you. May I suggest you engage in a process? First, start with a desire to forgive. Second, pray for the Lord to help you forgive. Third, tell the other individual through a note or in person that you forgive them. If that person is deceased, tell your forgiveness to the Lord. Finally, let go of expectations that the other person will understand or accept what you have done. Leave that individual in the Lord’s care.

A prayer of response
Lord, as I make inventory of my own life, I come to You knowing that there is no one whom I have not forgiven. Forgive me also of the wrongs I have done and the things I should have done that I did not.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

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2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

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2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark

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