Daily Devotion for April 23, 2012
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
But the posterity of the righteous will be delivered.
Forgiveness  — The Importance of Forgiving Others
"Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy."
Notes on the Scripture
Christ commands us, again and again, to be merciful to others. He repeatedly connects the mercy we give to the mercy we will receive. This is reflected in one of the main phrases of the Lord's Prayer — "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us". Forgiveness of others is the key that unlocks Christ's forgiveness, and forgiveness through Christ is the key that unlocks the kingdom of God.
If we do not forgive someone, can we be forgiven for our own sins? Possibly not. Further down in Matthew 5:21-26, Jesus speaks on the subject at length, including the admonition: "Everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment . . . So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift."
This sounds very much as if we must settle our differences with others — both those with whom we are angry, and those who are angry with us — before we worship. On the other hand, God's mercy knows no bounds; our salvation is one of grace, not of works. This would indicate we can be forgiven anything, including our failure to settle out differences with our brothers and sisters before we worship. Perhaps it is best to say, in terms of theology, that if we truly believe in Christ and love him, we will want to settle our differences with our brothers and sisters as He has commanded us to do.
But is this possible for a human being? Anger is a powerful emotion, and it can be next to impossible to quell, especially when it is strong or fresh. And it may, literally, be impossible to make peace with someone else. There are people on earth who apparently will nurse a grudge and never let it go.
The key to dealing with anger, as with all sins, is that we must try. And when we fail, seek to confess our sins and receive the grace of forgiveness. But when it comes to resolving disputes with other people, especially where we and/or the other person are angry, we must make a really concerted effect (and possibly succeed) before we can be forgiven for our own sins.
In the next two lessons, we will examine the practical, human, emotional difficulties of the two sides of this coin: First, ceasing to be angry with someone who has wronged us; and second, making things right when we have offended someone else.