Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mark 11:24-26 -- On Prayer and Forgiveness

"Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses."
Mark 11:24-26

There are a lot of cool things in these verses.  I love the idea at the beginning that if we can believe, we can have what we truly desire.  That partially seems like just getting whatever we want, but examined more closely, I think it is a strong lesson on being careful about what we desire.  ... Because when we get it, sometimes we end up regretting those desires, and working towards those things.  But if they are good desires, it gives us a lot of hope, that we can have and be what we ask for and work for, as we consult with God.

In the later verses, it talks about how when we are praying for forgiveness that we should also forgive.  I think that is an easy idea to grasp, but the actual putting it into practice is super difficult.  It's really hard to forgive people who scam you on purpose, or who lie about you to get ahead, or who harmed you when you trusted them and abused that power... or pretty much countless other things.  We do to each other things that seem unforgivable sometimes.

So, I think there are a couple of reasons that we need to do it anyway.  Two are that God asked us, and we also do unforgivable things sometimes.  And yet God is willing to forgive us anyway, and Christ paid the price for our sins, and he stands between us and justice... for our benefit, but also for the benefit of that person who sinned against us... not because God likes it when we do cruel and horrible things to each other, but because he is willing to give us ALL another chance.

We're in this together, and we need to give each other another chance as well.  Not another chance to hurt us, necessarily.  Good to get away from scammers and abusers.  But learning and growing, and letting others do so as well, albeit perhaps from farther away, is a good thing.  And hating and holding grudges harms us so much.  It erodes our happiness, it makes it harder for us to trust, and it can make us mean and cynical if we let it.  Instead, let's accept our lessons and our losses, and move forward with God.  If we've lost something, instead of trying to take it out of someone's hide, let's petition the Lord, and believe. :)  Back to the hope at the beginning, right?  People aren't going to make up for their deficits and the harm they have done to us, just like we can't always make up for what we have done to others.  But God.  God can help us.  Let's turn to him and ask, and believe, and we'll be okay.

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