Read: Deuteronomy 3-4, Mark 11:20-33
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your sins. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your sins.
Mark 11:22-26 (NIV)
In Mark 11, we can’t wait to get to the good part about telling a mountain to throw itself into the sea, and then we quickly skip over that uncomfortable part about forgiveness and move on to the next parable.
Who doesn’t want to see a miracle? We should long to see the miraculous. Signs and wonders should be following every believer. But what if the miracle God wants to perform has to do with you forgiving your brother? What if the sign He wants to show someone has you asking for forgiveness from your neighbour?
Not every miracle, sign or wonder has to do with healing or provision. Sometimes they seem so insignificant to us that we wouldn’t even deem to call the event worthwhile. But to the person who’s been forgiven, it can be life-changing.
If grace does not produce joyful obedience it has been abused. Forgiving is the very essence of grace.
The Weston Study Bible
Forgiveness isn’t something we should look at that we need to get out of the way so we can see the mountain move. Forgiveness may be the mountain itself.
When Jesus took the time to explain to his disciples how they should pray, he didn’t include the miraculous, but he did include forgiveness.
This, then, is how you should pray,
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name;
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.'”
Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)
Jesus then went on to say that when we forgive those who sin against us, God will forgive us, but if we withhold our forgiveness, God will not forgive us.
It would seem to me, then, that as much as it is impossible to please God without faith, it is also impossible to please him without forgiveness.