Study from God’s Word… Mt 21: 20-22 & Mk 11: 20-26; Mk 11: 27-33 [Mt. 21: 23-27 & Lk 20: 1-8]; Mt. 21: 28-32; Mk 12: 1-9 & Lk 20: 9-16 [Mt 21: 33-41]; Mt 21: 42-44 [Mk 12: 10-11 & Lk 20: 17-18]; Mt 21: 45-46 [Mk 12: 12 & Lk 10: 19]; Mt. 22: 1-14; Mt 22: 15-22 & Lk 20: 20-16 [Mk 12: 13-17]; Mt 22: 23-33 [Mk 12: 18-27 & Lk 20: 27-28]; Mk 12: 28-34 [Mt 22: 34-40 & Lk 20: 39-40]; Mt 22: 41-46 & Mk 12: 35-47 [Lk 20: 41-44]; Mt 23: 1-12 [Mk 12: 38-40 & Lk 20: 45-47]; Mt. 23: 13-37; Mk 12: 41-44 [Lk 21: 1-4] … Passage for Reflection: Mark 11: 25 … NIV And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against another, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
My Journal for Today: This business of forgiveness, which is the beating heart of the Gospel story and message, is probably the biggest hurdle (or maybe I should use the word picture of a “mountain” rather than a “hurdle”) we need to overcome as humans who call ourselves born-again Christians. I don’t know about you; but in my humanity – i.e., my sin nature – I find forgiving one who has not asked for forgiveness to be one of the most difficult things Jesus commanded of His disciples.
Yes, the Lord laid it out, clean and simple in today’s highlight text, didn’t He? But though the Gospel is really quite clean and simple most of the time, that doesn’t make it easy to apply, does it? … Oh, I can find forgiveness from deep in my heart when a repentant one comes to me asking for my forgiveness. But what about that dude or dudette who owes me an apology because of some wrong perpetrated against me?
Lord, are you saying that I’ve got to forgive that lousy fool? And the answer, of course, from today’s truth, which comes right from the mouth of our Savior, is a resounding “YES!”
It’s a simple command from Jesus; but in-and-of ourselves, it’s almost impossible to activate. The application of today’s love-command from Christ requires something super-natural in us; and that can only come from us when we are in surrender to God’s Spirit, the Spirit of Emmanuel, living within us, to allow a true, born-again believer to rise above self and shine the Light of Christ, expressing the love of God to another, … yes, even one who may not – and probably does not – deserve it.
And I believe that the ability to forgive another, especially when that one neither asks for it or certainly deserves it, is one of the most iron-clad evidences of one being a living, breathing, born-again Christian. So, Dr. Smith asks the unforgiving question today: ”Who, TODAY, do I need to really and truly forgive?” And I’ll grapple with that one in my heart, leaving you to do the same.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I thank You for giving me enough grace to be debt free today when it comes to the need to forgive others; but if Your Spirit reveals such a need – anytime – give me the enabling grace to do so. Amen