Daily Devotional 21 Sept 2020
“When you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too” (Mark 11:25).
“It’s not fair!” Haven’t we all caught ourselves pouting this common refrain? The problem with ‘fairness’ is that it is entirely subjective. What one person deems fair, another protests unfair. For example, is it ‘fair’ to give each child a piece of cake that is identical in size or give a portion that is in direct proportion to the child’s size and appetite? Is it ‘fair’ that the young adult born into a wealthy family owns two vehicles, while another from a less affluent family must take the bus? Is it ‘fair’ that one individual grows up with opportunities to go to school, sleep under a roof in safety and eat when hungry, while others have none of these? When asking the ‘fairness’ question, the correct answer is judged by the responder. Depending on your point of view, we can argue the fairness question from both sides and come up with entirely different results. Which is why God doesn’t. He isn’t concerned with fairness; His concern is for justice. In fact, if there’s one thing that God cannot tolerate it is injustice.
It’s His justice that prompts His stance regarding forgiveness. He will not forgive those who do not forgive. But why? Because in deeming another person unfit to receive our forgiveness, while expecting God’s forgiveness for ourselves, we attempt to exercise an unjust double standard. However, just as God is the source of love, He is also the source of justice. When we do not love others, we prove that we do not truly love God...despite what our words may say. The Apostle John was clear about this, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers” (1 John 4:20-21).
The same is true of God’s justice. When Jesus taught the disciples how to pray, He imbedded into the prayer our absolute need to forgive others as we seek God’s forgiveness for ourselves. Jesus explained, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15). When we consider those who have wronged and hurt us, “It’s not fair!” may form quickly on our lips, but I want to encourage you with you this thought. Be thankful that it’s not fair. If God kept to our standard of fairness, we too would never be able to experience forgiveness, made possible by His provision of justice. Jesus paid the price for all wrongdoing–yours and mine–to make forgiveness possible. It wasn’t fair! So, now, those of us who choose to acquire its benefits cannot withhold the same from others. Forgiveness isn’t about ‘fairness,’ it isn’t easy and it costs...just ask God; He knows. He is not asking anything of us that He hasn’t already experienced Himself. If we were to hold up our lives for inspection under a holy microscope, we would recognize our utter filth. We are all fully contaminated by sin. And it’s in that condition that God offers us forgiveness. Praise God that He chooses not to treat us ‘fairly,’ but rather has made a way for justice to be served and forgiveness made possible!
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!