Thursday, August 19, 2010

Casting Mountains and Forgiving Offenses

Mark 11:20-25 NLT  
  20 The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it had withered from the roots up. 21 Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Rabbi! The fig tree you cursed has withered and died!”  
  22  Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. 23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. 24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. 25 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

So many of Jesus' miracles were done as lessons for the disciples who would not understanding them until after the coming of the Holy Spirit upon them to enlighten their minds and hearts. The issue of the withered fig tree opened the window for Jesus to teach about amazing miracles done by faith. He describes a most impossible task-- speak to a mountain and expect it to be thrown into the ocean. Yet, given enough time and large machinery, we could take some smaller mountains and put the dirt into the sea. In the Middle east, entire mountains worth of ground are being poured into the ocean to form small man made islands that are becoming private homes for the rich and the famous in a development called The United Nations. Each island is shaped like a country or a continent. Those are not miracles, but to first century people it sound like an impossible thing to do.

I have to wonder, however, if it was the moving of a mountain that Jesus wanted to point out as a faith driven miracle. Notice where he went with his point. 'You can pray for anything. . . and it will be yours.  But. . .first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against.'  I have known hundreds of our brother and sister Christ followers who repeatedly get tripped up with the grudges they hold against other believers. I have been tripped up, myself, in that same way. We get trapped into an unconscious swelling of our personal ego and start casting blame on others out of jealousy. We become bitter because someone received a blessing while we did not. We start thinking about how we are much more deserving for a blessing or a desired outcome than our brother or sister.  God's Word teaches that we should rejoice when others are blessed but sometimes we are secretly bitter because we are not blessed as much, right? No, no one told on you, I'm just revealing my own struggles here.

I believe it a much greater exercise of pure faith in the power of God for you and I to forgive someone whom we might think has harmed us. It is a much larger miracle for us to let go of the long-held grudge than it would be to speak a mountain up and out into the sea. How about it today-- are you ready to move a mountain? Forgive someone.
Your servant in Christ's Love

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