10/26- Sunday (New Theme: FELLOWSHIP OF FORGIVENESS; Read LT Chapter 5) Mark 11:25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."
Bonhoeffer: “The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners!”
Thoughts: A whole section of the forty days is devoted to forgiveness. This is a priority for the Christian far more than the atheist, the Muslim, the Jew, the Buddhist or Hindu. Forgiveness as a priority- even over worship and prayer- alone in the Christian tradition. For many forgiveness doesn’t make sense. But holding grudges or allowing yourself to be eaten up with anger or revenge is self-destructive behavior too. Bitterness and grudge keeping hurts ourselves far more than the one who may have injured us. Our passage reminds us that we have been forgiven by God- not because we have earned that forgiveness with right living. In this passage even repentance is not required for forgiveness. When someone injures you then moves away- you must forgive them not for their protection but for your own good. The Father’s grace elicits repentance- but sometimes we may not have time to repent. The person who is going to apologize but dies on the way is surely offered forgiveness by God. God’s grace is amazing, and we are called to be gracious to those who do not deserve our forgiveness either. In the end- God is glorified by His great mercy, and we are helped in our relationship with the merciful God when we join in showing forgiveness and mercy.
Prayer: Lord, help me to see how much I need your forgiveness. Give me grace to forgive as you have forgiven me.