As I was preparing to lead a small group meeting a few weeks ago, the Lord changed my message, to His. He reminded me of a sermon in which a visiting Pastor announced that he was prepared to stand before our Lord for the sins he had knowingly committed in his life, but the sins he had un-knowingly committed, and therefore not repented of, were of real concern.
It made me think.
I guess we have all prayed for forgiveness for “sins we have committed knowingly and un-knowingly” or words to that effect. I know I have, on countless occasions.
The Lord laid upon me how blind we all are to the “sins of omission”, even when reading the Bible and living our lives day to day. He gave me 3 simple examples from the Bible.
Do all Christians lead quiet and peaceful lives? I think the answer is a resounding “NO”. The Bible tells us why! It is because we do not pray for those in our Government, for our Leaders and for all in authority.
1 Timothy 2:1-3 tell us “First of all, then, I exhort that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Christians leading quiet and peaceful lives is CONDITIONAL on us praying and giving thanks for our Government, for our Leaders and for all in authority over us. Have you done this recently? I know I only started doing it regularly fairly recently, but “quiet and peaceful” now describes my lifestyle. Praise the Lord for his faithfulness to His Word!
The Lord then took me to the Old Testament and to the 10 Commandments, a well known scripture indeed. Exodus 20:12 implores us to “Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long upon the land which Jehovah your God gives you”. Again, conditional.
If we are not living long in the land which the Lord has given our families, chances are, we have not honoured our parents – or our parents, their parents.
Finally the Lord took me back to the New Testament and to the verses known as The Lord’s Prayer, where in Matthew 6:12 we are told to “forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors”. Yet again, conditional.
We should not expect to be forgiven if we do not in turn forgive others. Indeed Matthew 6:14-15 repeats it saying specifically “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (For ‘trespasses’ read ‘debts’).
Forgiveness does not mean agreeing, or forgetting, or belittling what injustice has been enacted against us, and in many case we can only do it with the help and grace of the Lord himself. By turning to the Lord and forgiving someone else their injustice against us, we humble ourselves before Him we present Him with sacrifices He will not despise, a broken spirit and a contrite heart (Psalm 51:17).
What surprised me at the group meeting was the total blindness to the conditional parts of the verses, even when reading the verses from the Bible. They just could not see past their familiarity with the verses, to the truth therein.
Do you pray for your government, its leaders and all in authority?
Do you honour your parents in words and deeds, though they may no longer be with us?
Do you forgive others?
Let us incorporate these into our regular prayer schedule that we may open the way for the Lord to bless us in new and unimagined ways.
Let us ask the Lord to reveal to us the hidden understandings and truth in His Word to which we have become blind, for while the secret things of God belong to Him, those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever (Deuteronomy 29:29).