Friday, December 16, 2016
Yesterday, I wrote about the gift of forgiveness. Today, I’ll focus on the opposite, unforgiveness. Did you know that it is the number one reason many prayers go unanswered? Jesus said: “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 KJV)
So many times, Christians just can’t understand why some of their special petitions are not answered. They often search for answers, never once thinking that the answer lies in their heart. Why is it that some people we know think that their feud with someone is a private and personal matter and that it has nothing to do with their relationship with others and especially with God? This situation always reminds me of Christians who foolishly say: “Well, I guess the only thing I have left now is prayer.” My dear fellow believers, praying is the FIRST thing to do when confronted with a trial or any other obstacle, not the last.
I don’t know if businesses or stores still have this practice, but I do know that many of them used to do an inventory at the end of the year or at the start of the next. That is a good spiritual practice as well for God’s people. It would be good to search our heart from time to time to see if we have allowed anger, bitterness, or resentment to creep in. Could it be that we are holding a grudge against our spouse, family member, co-worker, friend, even another church member and have not yet noticed or acknowledged it? I suspect that David believed in this practice also because this was one of his prayers to God: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24 KJV) The next time we begin to investigate why certain of our petitions are not being answered, may the Lord remind us that the first place to look is deep into our heart.
God’s word for today: (Ephesians 4:32) “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”