Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Forgiveness and Prayer

Has someone ever betrayed you? Or maybe you’ve had a disagreement over something that seems trivial now? I think most of us can answer in the affirmative to one or both of these questions.

“They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.” Acts 15:39-41.

Paul and Barnabas were friends and colleagues. In fact, Barnabas came to Paul’s defense among the other disciples after Paul’s conversion to Christianity, recorded in the book of Acts. But as often happens, human frailties and personalities came in to play in their relationship. Acts 15 records their disagreement over whether or not Mark was reliable enough to accompany them in their ministry work.

By the end of Paul’s life, in his final letter to Timothy, he asks Timothy to come quickly and to “get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:11b.

Either Paul had regretted his strong stance, forgiven Mark’s past indiscretion, or Mark had proven himself through his ministry with Barnabas. The relationship had mended to the point where Paul asked for him, even as his own death was imminent.

Today, my prayer is for those hurt by broken relationships or sharp disagreements in their family or friendships. If you have a prayer request or would like to share a thought, please share in the comment section or email me, if you’d like it to stay confidential. Take a moment to pray for others' requests.

Please enjoy "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us," sung by Todd Agnew, as you spend a few minutes in prayer.


  1. laura this is so appropriate to be the first thing i read here. i have been struggling with how to deal with betrayal from fellow Christians. i thought i had figured out God's will and then i read something that made be re-think everything. i will pose the question to you - if a brother or sister in Christ hurts you are we then obligated to forgive said person IF they have not asked for forgiveness? i had recently read so many passages in God's word that dealt with forgiving but then read that we are only to apply those principles IF the offender has asked for forgiveness. now i am just plain confused. any thoughts? - betty

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Betty. That’s a great question. Yes, I believe we are obligated to forgive. Colossians 3:12-14, states, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Also in Matthew 18:21-22, Christ instructed Peter to forgive seventy times seven. As Christians, we are to model ourselves after Christ. The Lord forgives us, so we are to try to do the same with those who offend us. The Lord’s Prayer is another great passage to refer to, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others.” It’s not easy. At times, I’ve had to ask God to help me forgive someone because I can’t do it under my own power. I’ve had to forgive the person when I don’t feel it, but that leads me to another point. Forgiveness releases us from bitterness and anger that has the power to ruin our lives—power that you give the enemy to make you ineffective as a Christian. The offender has gone on with their life, in most cases, and it’s not affecting them. You forgive to release yourself. Maybe you’ve heard the quote, “Unforgiveness is the poison you drink every day hoping that the other person will die.” Forgiveness doesn’t mean the relationship is restored with the person. That will depend on the person and the circumstances. But you’re no longer letting them live in your head and soul by hanging on to their transgression. Sorry this is so long, but I hope it helps.