Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored. May your Kingdom come and your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us the bread we need for today. Forgive our wrongs as we forgive the wrongs of others. Keep us from temptation and protect us from evil. For yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
From Eyewitness: The Life of Christ Told in One Story
“If you do not forgive,” Jesus said, “your heavenly Father will not forgive your sins.” — Mark 11:26
Peter asked how many times one should forgive, thinking seven times was the extreme (Matthew 18:21). When Jesus answered, “Seventy times seven,” Peter should have understood that forgiveness was essential for every offense. I wonder if he got the message. Maybe not.
How often should I forgive?
Later, Jesus was again talking about the need to be forgiving. “If he offends you seven times in a day, Jesus said, “and seven times in a day he turns to you and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him” (Luke 17:4). Really? The disciples said that wasn’t possible without more faith (Luke 17:5).
I might give someone a second chance, but three or four? Hardly. Seven seems absurd, but 490 times would be impossible, right? Not if Jesus said that’s what I should do. Like the disciples, I need some faith to help in my obedience, but in what?
An incentive will help.
If I understand that God forgives me only if I forgive others, I have an incentive. Forgiveness is a choice to love the undeserving, to not want them to be penalized. Why would I do that? Because that’s what God did for me. And when I do that for others, I am forgiven and become a little more like him.
This is why part of my attitude in prayer must seek to bless those who would never bless me.