"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” - Matthew 18: 21-22).
One thing true of life is that human interactions are reeked with hurts. Because of our fallen nature, evil, intrigue, mischief, under handedness, duplicity, lies, false accusations, ungratefulness etc, are common experiences. Whether it is at church, in the family, the market place, community or accidental encounters on the road with strangers, you can feel safe and assured of once being wronged, if not quite often.
Being wronged is often most hurtful when the perpetrator is closest to you. For the roadside abuser you may toss back some casual offensive remark in kind and forget, after all you may never meet this tormentor again. However, when it is someone quite close, like a sibling, a long time sworn friend, a close work mate, who then betrays your confidence, that hurts to the bone. Everywhere you turn the arrow of betrayal strikes. All kinds of emotions can fill you – from anger to sadness.
Yet Jesus asks of us to be forgiving. Why, is because first of all we too have done wrong and have been forgiven. In spite of our sinful nature, “He took up our infirmities
and bore our diseases” (Mathew 8:17). In Matthew 6: 14-15, Jesus tells us, "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."
Have you realised there is such a thing as becoming a victim of the enemy. When someone you know wrongs you, as often happens, and that hurt makes you ever restless, longing for the day of getting even, then you are under the grip of the one who has offended you. However, if you let go, knowing God has said, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," (Romans 12:9), then the burden is no longer yours.
Unfortunately many people have unsuspectingly become prisoners of their offenders. But those who have learnt to forgive can tell of the freedom forgiveness brings, which every Christian ought to enjoy.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, because you have forgiven me, today I choose to be as forgiving, surrendering to you all my hurts to you, that you take over and I may enjoy the peace from you that surpasses understanding, this I pray in Jesus’s name.
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“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”- (Philippians 4:6).
Perhaps you have heard of a certain old magical trade known as mind reading. According to this trade which has been around for millenniums and has its share of tricksters, mind readers are able to discern thought patterns of individuals before they even utter a word. There are places in the world where this, as expected, is a lucrative occupation, with practitioners, often crafty magicians, demanding hefty fees, just to tell thoughts of others.
As Christians, of course, we have an all knowing God, who has said, “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” ( Mathew 6:8). Further, our Lord has pointed out, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” ( Mathew 6:7). As Christians when we come to God, we do so with full confidence, that He already knows our needs and will meet them according to his glorious riches in heaven.
Of particular interest for us here is that while God perfectly knows our needs before we even dare utter a single word, still it is incumbent upon us to make our requests known to Him. A parent may have long noticed a child has a need for a new pair of shoes; but it is another dimension, when the child does come out and share aloud that his pair is worn out, hurting and is quite in need of a new one. The parent takes notice, especially when the matter is presented with such conviction and urgency. This is why Hannah cried out to God for a child ( 1 Samuel 1:9-18).
In our relationship with God, as the Apostle Paul advises us, it is not just enough to assume and let matters be, that after all God knows all our needs, but we too bear a responsibility to make our requests known to Him. Once we are done with that, we let God do His part, allowing “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” ( Philippians 4:7) to flood us.
So, today, do not hold back your needs from the Almighty God. He has paved the way to walk to Him through His son Jesus Christ, to present your case, bear out your heart’s desire, and let Him do His part!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise to make my requests known to you, knowing you have heard me even before I utter a single word, assured that you will meet each and every one of my needs, according to your glorious riches in heaven!