It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.—Francis of Assisi

You’ll recognize this verse from Mark, chapter 11.

When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. Mark 11:25

Don’t know about you, but I always figured this verse was talking about some quarrel I might have had with someone I barely know. Maybe a business competitor who stole a client, the neighbor whose dog dug up my daffodils or some creep that dinged my fender in a parking lot.

On second thought, the individuals who are most likely to need your forgiveness are the people with whom you spend the most time and who know exactly how to push your buttons: your family.

Forgiving strangers is easy. You can do it without even being in the same room or speaking a single syllable.

Forgiving members of your own family is a little tougher. Your son, who reacted sarcastically to your question. Your daughter, who ignored a direct request. Your wife, who overreacted to a minor offense and won’t let it go.

According to Mark 11:25, you can’t get right with God until you get right with them. Dad, as leader of the family, you need to take the first step. Get the facts. Clear up any confusion. Suggest that it’s time to make things right.

Look at it this way. If you’re holding something against them, there’s a good chance they’re holding something against you. When you take the initiative to make things right, you are very likely helping both of you get right with God.

What about you?

Leadership is not always charging ahead with drawn sword and bold war cry. In a family, leadership often requires an empathetic viewpoint — considering all sides of a disagreement and letting go of the petty issues that mean zero in the long run.


Adapted from: One-Minute Devotions for Dads. Copyright © 2012 by Jay Payleitner. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.

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