“Oh, well,” some one says, “you do not know how hard it is to forgive.” You think not? I know this much:—that some persons, and some things you cannot forgive of yourself. But I am glad to say that I know this too that if one allows the Spirit of Jesus to sway the heart He will make you love persons you cannot like. No natural affinity or drawing together through disposition, but a real yearning love in the heart. Jesus’ love, when allowed to come in as freely as He means, fills your heart with pity for the man who has wounded you. An infinite, tender pity that he has sunk so low as to be capable of such actions.
But the fact to put down in the sharpest contrast of white and black is that we must forgive freely, frankly, generously, “even as God,” if we are to be in prayer touch with God.
And the reason is not far to find; a double reason, Godward and Satanward. If prayer be partnership in the highest sense then the same spirit must animate both partners, the human and the divine, if the largest results are to come. And since unforgiveness roots itself down in hate Satan has room for both feet in such a heart with all the leeway in action of such purchase. That word unforgiving! What a group of relatives it has, near and far! Jealousy, envy, bitterness, the cutting word, the polished shaft of sarcasm with the poisoned tip, the green eye, the acid saliva—what kinsfolk these!
Sin, selfishness, an unforgiving spirit—what searchlights these words are! Many a splendid life to-day is an utter cipher in the spirit atmosphere because of some such hindrance. And God’s great love-plan for His prodigal world is being held back; and lives being lost even where ultimately souls shall be saved because of the lack of human prayer partners.
May we not well pray:—Search me, oh God, and know my heart and help me know it; try me and know my innermost, undermost thoughts and purposes and ambitions, and help me know them; and see what way there be in me that is a grief to Thee; and then lead me—and here the prayer may be a purpose as well as a prayer—lead me out of that way unto Thy way, the way everlasting. For Jesus’ sake; aye for men’s sake, too.
Why the Results are Delayed
God’s Pathway to Human Hearts.
God touches men through men. The Spirit’s path to a human heart is through another human heart. With reverence be it said, yet with blunt plainness that in His plan for winning men to their true allegiance God is limited by the human limitations. That may seem to mean more than it really does. For our thought of the human is of the scarred, warped, shrivelled humanity that we know, and great changes come when God’s Spirit controls. But the fact is there, however limited our understanding of it.
God needs man for His plan. That is the fact that stands out strong in thinking about prayer. God’s greatest agency; man’s greatest agency, for defeating the enemy and winning men back is intercession. God is counting mightily upon that. And He can count most mightily upon the man that faithfully practices that.