MARK 11:24-25: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: The account of Jesus cursing the fig tree on His way to the Temple has spurred many a sermon and many a book. We love to quote the preceding verses of faith – “22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 l Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:22-24, ESV)
As I read through these verses again I find myself asking this question – “What is harder – to speak to a mountain to be cast into the sea, or to forgive someone who has offended me?” Immediately I am brought to the healing of the paralytic. Jesus speaks to him and says – “Son be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven.” One of the scribes proclaimed – “This man blasphemes.” Jesus then replied – “…Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — he then said to the paralytic — “Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” (Matthew 9:4-6 ESV)
I find it interesting that Jesus ties the same thought to His teaching on mountain moving faith. I know in my life it is easy for me to pray for many things, even mountainous things, yet it is difficult to pray blessings upon those who have offended or hurt me. This takes more faith than anything else we will have to do in life. It is also the highest calling we have to answer in life. It shows that we are walking in the heart of the Father. In fact, our realization of walking in the forgiveness of the Father will be directly related to our actualization of walking in forgiveness toward others. Now this takes faith!
I can vividly remember the moment the Lord asked me to pray for one who had deeply wounded and betrayed me. I was willing to pray for anything or anyone else, but I was not willing to pray for that individual. This was more than a mountain to me – it was a mountain range! The Lord kept dealing with my heart. While I continued to walk in un-forgiveness I did not sense the Lord’s presence in my life. I went through the motions, but I was in the middle of a dry dusty place both emotionally and spiritually. The Lord had not forsaken me, but my un-willingness to forgive was keeping me from realizing His forgiveness and fellowship. What was I going to do?
When I began to verbally forgive and pray blessing upon this person who had deeply wounded and betrayed me – it was completely a step of faith and obedience. I did not want to do it, and as I prayed speaking words of forgiveness and blessing over this individual – I did not feel the words I was speaking. However, as I continued to speak to this mountain range of anger, hurt, and un-forgiveness in my life – it began to move! Slowly, but surely my anger subsided, my hurt began to heal, and my un-forgiveness became His forgiveness. When I forgave in obedience I released the person from the debt I had placed over them, and in the process – I was released from my anger, hurt, un-forgiveness and was truly set free!
Lord, help me to walk in Your forgiveness and to always extend this to others. You have freely forgiven me so much, may I also freely forgive those who offend me both intentionally and unintentionally. May I have “faith in God” to speak to the mountains of human anger and hurt and see them continually cast into the sea of Your Grace, Mercy, and Love! In Jesus Name!