June 27  Forgive as You Are Forgiven

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 11:25

An unforgiving spirit can be a destructive presence in our lives, even when we don’t realize we’re harboring one. Have you forgiven your ex-husband, ex-wife, or whoever makes you angry every time you think about him or her? What about someone on the job who wronged you—someone you’re still mad at after three weeks, three months, or three years?

Nurturing an unforgiving spirit can block your prayer life. The Bible says, “‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” . Withholding forgiveness does not reflect the character of Christ, and it demonstrates ingratitude for the vast forgiveness God has given you.

Jesus made this point in the parable of the unforgiving servant in. In this story, the king forgives one of his servants and cancels a great debt he owed him. However, this same servant refuses to forgive a fellow servant of a lesser debt. In the end, the king throws the first servant into jail for his lack of mercy. Jesus concludes by warning His disciples, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (v. 35). Withholding forgiveness is a serious matter. You need to forgive others if you want God to forgive you and to hear your prayers.

Prayer: Father, I do not want to be captive to an unforgiving spirit. Help me forgive everyone who wrongs me with the same forgiveness that You have offered me in Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Thought: Withholding forgiveness does not reflect the character of Christ. Reading: 2 Chronicles 1–3; John 10:1–23; Ephesians 4:26–27; Matthew 18:23–35