Are you someone who holds a grudge? That is a question that you may not feel comfortable answering. It is one of those soul searching questions that might make you uncomfortable. Here is a quick way to determine your grudge-holding meter: if Suzy stole your boyfriend in 5th grade and you think about it, then you might hold a grudge. We have been doing a series at my church on the Lord’s prayer. Each week, my preacher has been looking at a line or two from the prayer and breaking it down for us. This past week, the passage that we looked at was from Matthew 6:12.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
I LOVE when I read the part about, “forgive us our debts.” Can you imagine if all of your debts were forgiven? The banks said that on Nov. 17th, all bank loans are paid in full! What if there were no more student loans, no more car payments, no more mortgages for anyone? People would be dancing in the streets, and we would all be ecstatically happy. But, what if that was only contingent on “you” also forgiving everyone for any debts that they might owe you? Would you be willing to do that?
What is the “debt” was not monetary? What if it was something that someone had done to us? What if someone has wronged you, told a lie on you, or cheated on you? Would that be much harder to forgive?
One of the illustrations in the sermon on Sunday was of a woman whose husband had cheated on her, and he left her to raise three children on her own. He eventually married the “other” woman and was happy in his new life. At some point in time, he felt the need to have forgiveness from his first wife, so he went to her and asked her if she could ever forgive him? What would you have done? Would you have forgiven him? Then, he went one step further and asked his ex-wife if she would not only forgive him, but would she “bless” him and his new wife? Is that a whole new ballgame?
We all know the Lord’s prayer, but have you continued reading the next two verses that follow the prayer?
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
That seems pretty straight forward to me…if you don’t forgive, then HE doesn’t forgive. How about this verse:
Mark 11: 25
25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
In a nutshell, I WANT to be forgiven, and it is obvious that there is a huge stipulation before that can happen. So, I forgive you, Suzy, for stealing my boyfriend back in the 5th grade. I am consciously going to search my soul to see if there is anyone that I am holding a grudge against, and then I am going to pray for them daily and ask for them to be blessed. My grudge against them will not hurt them, but it could cost me everything.
Have a Blessed Day!