My father-in law told me a story about a time when he was an apprentice in the carpet trade.  Every day before they started laying carpet, his job was to clean the bathrooms in the shop.  One day there was a little present in one of the toilets, and the toilet didn’t flush.  He called his boss over and asked what to do.  His boss scooped the little present out with his hands, threw it in another toilet, flushed it and said, “never ask anyone to do anything that your not willing to do yourself, the next one is yours.”   Kind of gross, but you get the point.  God doesn’t ask us to do things that he is not willing to do himself.

One of the things that is so striking about Jesus is that He asks us to put His good news on display with your life.  One of the most well known things that Jesus did was forgive the sins of the world.  But there is this thread of teaching throughout the New Testament that says if you want to be forgiven then you need to forgive.  For example, right after Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray he says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”  In the book of Mark, Jesus goes further by saying, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”  Jesus doesn’t ask us to do things He’s not willing to do.  I think God wants us to experience forgiveness in our personal relationships so that we can really catch the value of our own forgiveness by God.

So before you put in your own request in prayer, there may be business that you need to take care of with others.  Forgive, so that you will be forgiven.  Why would Jesus want to forgive you if you’re not willing to forgive others?  By forgiving someone, or by asking for forgiveness, you are putting the gospel on display.


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