“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:26-26
To the Jewish people, at the time of Christ, there were very few things more important than worship. This fact is exemplified by their attitudes toward the temple, the sabbath, and the presence of synagogues throughout the Jewish world.
The Jewish people were immensely proud of the grandeur and beauty of the temple complex and considered any word spoken against the temple as much an act of blasphemy as words spoken against God. Devout people living within a sabbath days journey of the temple would unfailingly make their way to the temple each sabbath. Many would go to the temple daily to pray and listen to the instruction of learned rabbis.
The sabbath was meticulously kept by the faithful with more than one hundred rules being stipulated regarding proper sabbath observance.
Because most of the Jewish people lived too far from the temple to attend each sabbath, and because instruction in God’s word was deemed necessary to discourage apostasy, synagogues were built to provide places for instruction, worship and prayer.
Unfortunately, devoutness to worship and pray don’t always lead to faithfulness in other equally important areas of life.
Worship and prayer are activities we do to deepen and grow our relationship with God both as individuals and as communities. And while we may be faithful in our observance of our devotions to God we can at times be negligent of those actions we need to do to maintain and grow our relationships with our fellow men.
Our focus text makes it clear that God considers our relationships with each other to be as important as our relationship with him. What other conclusion can we draw from the words, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”