Thursday, May 5, 2022
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
Jesus links our privilege of being forgiven by God to our responsibility to forgive those who offend us. In Luke 11:4, the correlation is just stated “forgive us . . . for we also forgive everyone.” In Matthew 6:14-15, after Jesus teaches the fundamentals of prayer in seven petitions, the only petition that elicits his added emphasis and explanation was the one having to do with asking God for forgiveness. Nazarene New Testament scholar Roger Hahn noted that “verses 14-15 amplify this point and make it clear that forgiveness from God will be forfeited if we refuse to forgive those who have offended us.”
Nelson Mandela insightfully said before he left prison, “As I stand before the door of my freedom, I realize that if I do not leave my pain, anger and bitterness behind me, I will still be in prison.” Forgiveness means letting go. Our release from guilt by God is simply inextricably linked to our letting go of the pain, anger, and bitterness we hold toward those who have wronged us.
Father, in the name of Jesus, who asked for forgiveness for those crucifying him, please forgive my sins and fill me with the Spirit of Christ so that I, like Christ, will be able to forgive those who hurt me deeply.
Prayer Journal Reflections
What is the Holy Spirit saying to you today about the Lord’s protection, direction, and revelation for your life and the life of the church?
—Sam Vassel, District Superintendent, Metro New York