When it comes to the issue of forgiveness, sooner or later, we find ourselves on both sides of the fence. But whether we are in need of another person's forgiveness or struggling to forgive someone who's hurt us, the desire to put things right keeps our connection with God strong.
Once we've been reconciled to God, He calls us to reconcile with everyone else we know.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, "Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift" (Matthew 5:23-24). If you have deliberately wronged someone and have not made restitution, you can offer all the sacrifices you want. But what God really wants you to do is reconcile with your brother.
At first, Jesus' words may sound strange. Why shouldn't God hear our prayers when we are in need of another person's forgiveness? After all, our heavenly Father is in the forgiveness business. That's what makes a relationship with Him possible in the first place. But once we've been reconciled to God, He calls us to reconcile with everyone else we know. And that is why if you have wronged someone and have not taken care of that wrong by making restitution, the Bible feels so heavy. You may avoid reading the Word of God, and your prayer life is crippled. Your lines of communication with the Lord have come down.
But you can restore communication with the Lord as you seek to restore relationships with others, putting things right so that you honor God, love others, and prevent your prayers from being hindered.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for not letting me neglect to seek forgiveness from others for the ways that I wrong them. I know it is good for me and for my relationships to seek reconciliation. Help me to do so with humility and grace. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:18).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon What Hinders Answers to Your Prayer?: WATCH NOW