Scripture: Numbers 34-36, Mark 11

Mark 11:25–26 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your sins.)*

Observation

Jesus was teaching His disciples about prayer and adds this important truth about forgiveness. (See also Matthew 6:5-15.) When you pray, if you hold anything against anyone—that’s all-inclusive—forgive them so that God may forgive you. Anything against anyone! In other words, forgive everyone always. Forgive everyone everything every time!

*Verse 26 is not in the oldest manuscripts and so is not included in many translations, including the NIV. But the idea is clearly expressed by Jesus in Matthew 6, and is a warning to be taken seriously. If you don’t forgive, you won’t be forgiven. It’s not worth it to hold on to that bitterness!

Application

Every time we pray, we ask God to forgive us (Matthew 6:12), and we also forgive anyone who has sinned against us. That second part is what is overlooked. We remember to ask for forgiveness; we forget that we must also give it—every time to everyone for everything. And that’s hard.

Here are the key ideas:

Forgive every time you pray. Make forgiveness a regular part of your prayers.

Forgive anyone for anything. Make forgiveness universal—everyone always!

Forgive so you can be forgiven. Understand that forgiven people must forgive! We literally can’t afford not to forgive. However much you want to nurse that hurt or hang on to that bitterness, it’s not worth it! Is your own forgiveness worth sacrificing just so you can stay offended at someone else? No way!

Today, when I pray, I will ask the Lord to show me whom I need to forgive. Am I hanging on to some bitterness or hurt? Let it go. What a freedom! To live forgiven, and to live forgiving!

Prayer: Thank you Lord for forgiving me for everything. Show me whom I need to forgive, and help me to let it go and live free!