“..and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us…. If you forgive those who sin against you, your Heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Matthew 6:12, 14
In the whole of Jesus’ ‘model prayer’, the theme of forgiveness is the only point He expands upon. In fact so strong are Jesus’ words, then we can’t help but analyse our lives to see if they are in check with God’s mirror (His word!). Jesus highlighted an important truth in His prayer. If we are forgiven then we too should forgive others with the same forgiveness we have received. It is a clear, strong and direct message that cannot and should not be missed.
Yes Jesus in His loving, kind and unconditional love poured Himself out to be the forgiveness of our sins. And yes we freely accept God’s grace through Jesus’ actions to be the payment for our sins so we can stand as forgiven sons and daughters of God. Yet if we do not show the same love, kindness and grace to others who do wrong to us, then we are like hypocrites, and in Jesus’ words, ‘your Father will not forgive your sins’. These are strong words, yet the reality of what Jesus was trying to say was and is so plain. Simply put, forgive others as you have been forgiven, don’t and you won’t either…
Forgiving others is a humbling experience and something that is not always as straight forward as just saying words. Forgiveness can sometimes be a process. However, if we fully understand how much we are forgiven, and view our hurts and pain through that perspective, then we can only release ourselves and our debtors through forgiveness. Un-forgiveness not only damages our intimacy with God but also spreads in our hearts like a cancerous disease, eating away at our joy and peace.
May we all search our hearts to forgive ourselves and others of any hurts that we might be carrying. May we understand the depth of how much we have been forgiven and forgive others with that same forgiveness.