“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” – Mark 11:25 (ESV)
Although forgiveness can be very difficult, it is vital for healthy relationships. An inability to forgive those in your life has a direct impact on God’s forgiveness of you. In fact, how you treat others is a reflection of your relationship with God. Forgiveness is found in God and He offers it to those who obey.
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (NIV)
“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (KJV)
“Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” (New American Standard Bible)
“And whenever you stand to pray, forgive whatever you have against anyone, so that your Father who is in Heaven may also forgive you your faults.” (Aramaic Bible in plain English)
Let’s first draw our attention to the last word of this verse, which varies in the word of choice. The words used in various translations are: trespasses, sins, transgressions, faults, offenses, wrongdoing and failures.
Second, the term “stand praying” refers to the way that Jews prayed, standing with their heads bowed. However, for everyone, this can be simplified to understand that “standing” is not important, as this verse refers to any manner in which one may be engaged in prayer.
With the above understanding, we can gain a clear picture of the instruction Jesus was giving in this verse.
The main take away from this verse is that we need to remember that no one is perfect – most of all ourselves. Someone may have offended us, but we likely have offended someone else at some point also.
In the way that God forgives all and gives his grace, we must also forgive all. If we can’t be forgiving, how can we expect God to be forgiving of us?
We forgive others by praying for them. Even if someone has murdered a member of our family, we can still give them forgiveness by praying for them. We can pray that God will heal their soul and redeem them.
Undoubtedly, this is one of the most difficult types of forgiveness, something that is very hard for a human to do. But if we can manage to forgive in this manner – God can forgive us, too, for anything we may have done.
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.