Matthew 6:14-15Amplified Bible
14 For if you forgive [a]others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others [nurturing your hurt and anger with the result that it interferes with your relationship with God], then your Father will not forgive your trespasses.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
I believe most people have arrived at the conclusion that it is utterly impossible as human beings to avoid somehow and, in some way, offending others by our words, or lack of words and being offended by others, when we are still alive.
And, while we do not have the ability to control how others feel or act when they somehow feel offended by us, we do very much have free will over our own lives to decide how we will react or will not react when allegedly offended by others.
Our making the choice – Forgiving others wholeheartedly is the definite secret of a happy and prolonged relationship in all facets of life: in our family, in our work, at school, in Church, community, neighborhoods, mission and ministry.
It is definitely not easy to forgive others, but it’s what Jesus commands us to do.
Even if the other person is not really sorry, even if we are not very sorry about our actions, we still have to forgive sincerely in order to fulfil the will of God.
Matthew 6:14-15Easy-to-Read Version
14 Yes, if you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, then your Father in heaven will also forgive your wrongs. 15 But if you don’t forgive others, then your Father in heaven will not forgive the wrongs you do.
Jesus’ teaching here at the end of the Lord’s Prayer might be confusing.
It almost sounds as if we have to earn God’s forgiveness by forgiving others.
So, we definitely need heavy dose of a different kind of thought process here.
Ephesians 4:30-32Amplified Bible
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [but seek to please Him], by whom you were sealed and marked [branded as God’s own] for the day of redemption [the final deliverance from the consequences of sin]. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor [perpetual animosity, resentment, strife, fault-finding] and slander be put away from you, along with every kind of malice [all spitefulness, verbal abuse, malevolence]. 32 Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave [a]you.
I envision about any kitchen sponge that has not been used for a long time.
When you put it under the tap, at first the water runs right over the sponge.
But if you set that old sponge in a bucket of water for a few minutes, it will gradually and inevitably transform, will soften and becomes usable again.
Our own hearts and our souls and our spirits can be, can become like that too.
When we hold onto new resentments and old bitterness’s, nursing our anger, hugging old grudges close to our chests, hearts can become as hard as a rock, and God’s grace for us will be like water running over a rock – it won’t soak in.
At this point – someone needs to get on our case – come into our throne rooms and disrupt our lives, disrupt our dysfunctional patterns of behaving, thinking.
We are not hiding anything from God – but we are trying to – and this will most definitely get big time God’s attention – God will send someone – guaranteed!
That moment of confrontation will inevitably occur – someone will arrive and will get up inside our personal space – then we will have to make some serious choices – push that other person back out the door they entered or “get God!”
Reckon ourselves with our actions – then reckon, reason things out with God:
Psalm 51:1-12English Standard Version
Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
51 Have mercy on me,[a] O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right[b] spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
But when we are “pried” open by our remembrance of God’s forgiveness of us, we are “exposed” to forgiving others, we become soft like a moistened sponge.
God, our Father’s boundless and bottomless grace soaks in and saturates the entirety of our hearts, and we become abundantly available to share his grace.
Just as a wet sponge moistens other things when it touches them, we can share grace, the blood of Christ helping to wipe others’ dirt away as we forgive others.
Dying to our accumulated resentment, anger, and bitterness softens our hearts to receive God’s all-encompassing amazing grace, to share it freely with others.
Psalm 103:11-13English Standard Version
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so, the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
Why should any of this matter – of what relevance – of what significance to me?
The question of genuine forgiveness is one of eternal importance and relevance.
And why is it, you may ask, so crucial that Christians forgive?
For starters, Jesus’ statement in today’s text is quite a compelling reason, for “if you do not forgive others…neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Suffice it to say then, we had better make sure we are forgiving “our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).
Here’s the bottom line: forgiveness is such a central element to Christianity that it is an indicator of salvation!
Not that we are saved by any works of our own, such as forgiving others, but that when we are reconciled to God through the lifeblood of our Savior Jesus Christ, our new life will be eternally marked by grace giving and forgiveness.
Remember, our unrighteousness was exchanged for Jesus’ righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), our wrong for His 100% right, our injustice for His justice.
God meets our enfeebled efforts at rebellion and pride with His matchless grace in and through the person and work of our only Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Those to whom grace is extended should also extend grace, and those to whom forgiveness is extended should also extend forgiveness.
Forgive as you have been forgiven.
Not because it’s easy, but because it’s at the very exact core of who you are in Christ.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Dear Lord, search my heart. Reveal to me any remaining burs of hurt where I have attempted to forgive apart from You. I pray You would cover these hurts in Your healing grace, and through Your strength, empower me to forgive others as wholly and completely and utterly as You first forgave me. In Savior Jesus’ Name, Amen.