Ninth in The Lord's Prayer Series, "The best prayer to pray in times of stress"
We are promising God that as He forgives us, so shall we forgive others. We will not expect his mercy and fail to model it; we will extend mercy to those who hate and offend us, in most cases.*
The parable of the annoyingly persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8) comes to mind. There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man... (vs 1)
The widow continually went before a judge saying, Avenge me of my adversary. (vs 3) The judge ignored her for a while, but then thought to himself: Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. (vss 4, 5)
And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (vss 6-8)
There is a vast difference between the judge who did not fear God nor care for man and our LORD who IS God and LOVES man. The widow was right to be persistent, but here the analogy seems to end. Our LORD knows the help we need. He is not forgetful or indifferent. If our prayers say to him that we feel he has a stony heart, that we are disappointed in his sense of timing, that we feel he should see our plight just as we see it, that we have judged He is remiss, then we are insulting him.
Prayer is not badgering. Will the Son of Man find faith on earth when he comes?
Anger and bitterness against those who have transgressed against us engenders stress. Pleading with God to PLEASE help us forgive, for we CANNOT, also builds stress. When unable to forgive after much prayer, then pray for more of the Holy Spirit. As we are filled we will gain victory over resentment. We will have strength and ease to forgive 70 times seven offenses.
*They who would rightly pray to God for pardon must pardon those who wrong them. Joseph (Gen. 50:14-21) and Stephen (Acts 7:60) are conspicuous examples. We need to pray much for God to remove all bitterness and malice from our hearts against those who wrong us. But to forgive our debtors does not exclude our rebuking them, and, where public interests are involved, having them prosecuted. It would be my duty to hand over a burglar to a policeman, or to go to law against one who was able but who refused to pay me (Rom. 13:1-8). If a fellow citizen is guilty of a crime and I do not report it, then I become an accessory to that crime. I thus betray a lack of love for him and for society (Lev. 19:17, 18). - A. W. Pink
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