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Forgive others to earn forgiveness

Pastor's corner

POSTED: September 21, 2009 10:53 a.m.
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught his disciples to pray. He said, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive your debtors.” (Matthew 6:12).
Then he said in Mark 11:25-26, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in Heaven may also forgive you your trespasses, but if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Too often in our society — in the church and the secular world — people fail to forgive each other. Many times we have fallouts over small matters and we refuse to offer forgiveness.
I’m often reminded of the tales I used to hear about mountain-dwelling families who would feud, sometimes actually firing shots to keep others off of their property.
Some families even used to forbid their children to marry into or associate with families involved in a feud. Families would go through generations this way, each holding a grudge against the other — sometimes not even knowing why.
That might seem far-fetched today, but maybe not. When someone is hurt by another person and he or she does not deal with that hurt, unforgiveness will fester, causing a person to harbor ill feelings toward the person who hurt them.
At times, the frustrations associated with a grudge can be transferred to an angry person’s children, and will filter down through generations. Eventually, a generation may become confused or forget why the feud began in the first place. At that point, the situation becomes what the Bible calls “hating one another without cause,” which is worse than shooting at each another.
This hate pierces the hearts of people who had nothing to do with the original fight, and they get hurt.
Although there is happiness in our world today, we cannot ignore the ongoing wars, gang issues, racial tensions and family feuding. These violent, sad events and this hatred will go on until we begin to reach out to one another, admit our faults and forgive others.
Lord forgive us as we forgive others.

Edwards is the senior pastor at Agape Christian Fellowship Church.
 

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