Listen to this devotional:
Matthew 9:5 – Which is easier: to say, "Your sins are forgiven," or to say, "Get up and walk"? (NIV)
Forgiving is an easy thing to talk about, but a hard thing to do. I've known people, including myself, to be shackled to the chains of unforgiveness, which can paralyze emotions, diminish relationships, and destroy love. The bane of bitterness is fed by our inability to say or hear the word "Sorry". A sad fact about life is this: forgiveness can be the key as to whether or not we lead healthy, productive, and faithful lives. What we do with forgiveness sometimes moulds who we are and what we will become.
Recently, I've known someone to be forgiven something very serious, and to be shown a great deal of mercy. I thought that this would bring them back into church, praising and thanking God for the clemency they were given. Several Sundays have passed and they haven't come to worship God. This person has taken forgiveness for granted, and that saddens me. I think if I were forgiven as much, I would be first in line to get into the sanctuary on Sunday morning. No, I wouldn't even wait till Sunday — on the day I was forgiven, I'd be back in church!
When Jesus deals with the paralytic man, He not only cures him of being a cripple, He also heals the paralytic's broken soul. Sometimes the lack of forgiveness and the burden of guilt can seriously affect the body. Was this man's paralysis brought on by a relentless guilty conscience? I guess we'll never know, but from the Scripture, it seems very important to Jesus that forgiveness be given first and restoration be experienced later.
Perhaps some of us are experiencing something similar. Perhaps we need forgiveness for something we intensely regret, or maybe we've been waiting on forgiveness for such a long, long time. Whatever the case, let us know that Jesus has the power both to forgive and to heal. If we sincerely come to Him with what bothers us today, He will be merciful; He will show us compassion.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You know everything about our lives. You know the hurts we carry in our hearts and the mistakes that still burn in our minds. Forgive us and heal us. Be merciful and compassionate. In Your holy name, we humbly pray. Amen.