“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.”
(Proverbs 11:24 ESV)
“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you.”
(Mark 11:25 ESV)
At first glance, you might see these two Scriptures together and wonder what the connection is, but I’d suggest that you read the two passages through again, and let them speak to you. When we read the verse from Proverbs 11, we immediately think of money or resources of a financial nature, and when we read the verse from Mark, we have an entirely different thought in mind. I was reading through my Scripture reading journal looking for themes for this article and these two passages struck me as being very much related to one another.
When we are generous with our forgiveness and not withholding that from others when it is in our power to forgive, is it not then also the case that we sense swift forgiveness from God in regard to our own failures and sins? And conversely, when we are reluctant to forgive, and hold that back when we know that we should forgive, do we not also then sense distance and coolness in our relationship with God in regard to our sin?
Our text for Sunday, August 12 will be Matt. 9-14, taking a look at the second half of that passage which includes, “…and forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors,…for if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” If we are to think very long and hard about that thought, if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself on both sides of that thought. There have been times when I’ve been slow to extend forgiveness due to a hurt or wrong done to me, and there have been other times, when I am more cognizant of the forgiveness I’ve known, and have been more willing to forgive others.
As counterintuitive as it seems, as hard as it is to practice sometimes, “one gives [forgiveness] freely and grows all the richer [in being forgiven]; another withholds [forgiveness] what he should give, and only suffers want [in being forgiven]. It’s good for us to remember that generosity doesn’t just have to do with things financial, but with our relationships with one another as well. My prayer is that along with me, you might work at being more generous with our willingness to forgive one another. It will only benefit us in the end.
By His Grace Alone,
Pastor Bruce Jacobsen