DEVOTION:YOU ARE THE FIRST BENEFICIARY!
After showing His disciples how to pray, Our Lord Jesus Christ makes an additional comment regarding one part of the prayer. This is a very important point Christ is making. If he took time to make extra comments concerning this particular issue, then it is of great importance that we should pay attention to it.
This is a portion of prayer that Christ made further comments.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Matthew 6:12
Notice that in this portion of prayer, Christ says we should ask God to forgive us because we have already forgiven our debtors. No wonder why Christ needed to explain more on this point.
This is the additional comment
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14
Christ’s states positively what happens when we forgive those who have sinned against us. Simply stated: Our Heavenly Father will forgive us our sins if we forgive those who have sinned against us.
On the other hand, the opposite is true. The following is what Christ stated:
But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:15
Now this is a very serious thing! Imagine if you do not forgive those who have sinned against you, your Heavenly Father will not forgive your sins!
- It is very clear that when we forgive our debtors, we become the first beneficiaries of this forgiveness. For when we sin against God and go before Him to ask to be forgiven, our sins will be forgiven. But if we have not forgiven those who have sinned against us, then our sins will not be forgiven.
- This is one of the reason why Christ says the following:
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:24
- But you might say, Pastor it is very difficult to forgive someone who has hurt you. That is true! But remember you are the first beneficiary. In fact, if you do not forgive someone, you give him or her control over your life. Holding a grudge against someone is enslaving yourself to that person. Unfortunately, most of the offenders do not even remember their victims. Instead, they seem to be moving on along with life while their victims are suffering with anger. You must therefore forgive for your own sake. Remember the following verse.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
- There are two aspects that must take place whenever there has been an offense in order to bring peace between the two parties. The first is forgiveness. This is a must. As a believer, you have no other option. We are commanded. But the second one is something that most believers confuse with forgiveness. This aspect is healing. There is always hurt when an offense has taken place. This hurt takes time to heal. This is why the second phase is the healing process. While forgiveness can be instant, the healing process takes time.
- This process must be given time.
- Only those who have been hurt before understands the importance of this time.
- You cannot force reconciliation when there are still wounds that need to heal.
- When these two aspects are confuse or are expected to take place simultaneously, then, we end up accusing fellow believers that they have refuse to forgive their offenders, while in actual fact, they have already forgiven them. But they are now going through a healing process for the hurt that was done by the offense.
- A hospital chaplain once illustrated this to me by saying. Forgiveness is like a band-aid that has been wrapped over a wound. The band-aid helps the wound to heal but the healing does not happen instantly. It will take time for the wound to heal. Then he said, forgiveness is instant but healing takes time.
- Is it possible that you are still nursing anger over an offense that was done to you long ago? Are you still angry with the one who hurt you? Remember continued anger becomes bitterness. Forgive your debtor so that a time of healing will begin.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you,
Your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others their sins,
Your Father will not forgive your sins.
This is why
YOU ARE THE FIRST BENEFICIARY!
By Pastor Shadrack Ruto