When people begin to get excited about a message on repentance, watch out, revival draweth nigh. What an awesome service today. We’re still dealing with prayer. And today, we covered impediments to prayer; two in particular, lack of repentance and unforgiveness, and they loved it.
It’s a beautiful day for a church when people love preaching on repentance. The Bible makes it clear that if we harbour sin in our hearts God will not hear our prayers. That was David’s cry in Psalm 66 and Isaiah echoed the same when he said that God is not short handed or deaf, but that it is our sins that have hidden his face from us, that prevent Him from hearing us. But need we harbor sin, no. For repentance is a lovely thing.
Recently, I lay on my couch enjoying sweet fellowship with the Holy Spirit and suddenly had this thought ‘repentance is such a lovely thing’. Indeed I had just finished repenting. The Lord had drawn my attention to some things that were off in my conduct and I had been cut to the heart and cried out for forgiveness. Duly forgiven I lay there overwhelmed with and enjoying God, and thankful that I had been brought to repentance so I could savour Jesus.
Martin Luther said our lives must be lives of repentance. It’s not about self flagellation, rather it is about being quick to put things right when God shows us something wrong in our life. It’s about not wanting the slightest thing to cloud our relationship with Him. Objectively Jesus is my greatest treasure and if anything that I do offends Him, then I will let go of it, without regrets.
Furthermore, the Bible also makes it clear that if we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven. Jesus said as much in Mark 11 when He said that when you come to pray, forgive those who have wronged you, and that if you will not forgive , your heavenly Father will not forgive you either. That is scary. I want to be forgiven.
I forgive because I myself have been forgiven much. We are often like the servant who was forgiven a huge debt by his master, who then turned round and threw a fellow servant in jail for a paltry debt. Sin cost Jesus greatly, if He can forgive me, I can forgive another.
Earl Denny tells a powerful story of forgiveness. Corrie Ten Boom whose entire family perished at the hands of the Gestapo and was herself along with her sister interned in a concentration camp, was preaching in Germany once when at the end of the service, a man walked up along with others for prayer. She recognized him as a guard who had tortured and abused her sister to death in the camp.
She felt hatred, anger and resentment rise up in her. The man came up and said that he had been a guard in the concentration camps, that he had tortured people to death, he had since become a Christian and knew that God had forgiven him. But he wanted to ask her people’s forgiveness and wanted Corrie Ten Boom to forgive him.
As she stood there overwhelmed by hatred, resentment and anger, she cried out within asking Jesus to help her. Immediately she leaned over and said to the man’ I forgive you’ and she felt a weight lift off her. She was set free.
She testifies in this amazing video of how to love one’s enemies; 5mn20 into the video she speaks of the above experience.
God is quick to forgive and wipe the slate clean, He expects us to do the same and He will give us the grace to do it when we are willing. That way, nothing will cloud our relationship with Him and hinder our prayers. Shalom.
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