Jesus shared a model prayer with his followers. We now call it the Lord’s Prayer. Immediately after that, he gets tough about this forgiveness thing. It would seem to be important to Him.
IF we forgive those who sin against us…
- those who break our hearts
- those who cut us off in traffic
- those who hurt our friends or family
- those who steal from us
- those who betray us
- …those who sin against us
IF we forgive them, THEN God will forgive us.
I have to forgive others in order for God to forgive me?
He reiterates this in the next verse, saying that IF we refuse to forgive others, THEN our Father in heaven will refuse to forgive us.
But, isn’t that what salvation is all about, Him forgiving us?
Remember, Jesus was talking to His followers. Those who were already saved. This forgiveness He is talking about is the forgiveness for the mess ups, the poor choices, the omissions, the disobedience that we all do daily.
If we withhold forgiveness from anyone who offends or sins against us, we are blocking God’s forgiveness of our offenses and sins.
Mind you, forgiveness doesn’t mean you’re saying what they did or said was okay. You’re not absolving them of the consequences of the offense. You’re not saying relationships are completely restored. You ARE saying that the debt they owe you for the offense is wiped clean. It’s no longer owed. This is what God does for us. The insurmountable debt we owe for our disobedience to Him is wiped away when we confess our sins (1 John 1:9). We will still have to face consequences, but the ultimate judgment is annulled.
Forgiving others is not for them. It is for us. It is to keep us in right standing with God, and it is to heal our hearts and correct our perspective.
Is there someone in your life you need to forgive? Today is the day to wipe that slate clean, calling their debt paid in full, whether they’ve asked or not. Today is the day to restore God’s forgiveness in your daily life. Don’t put it off.
Coffee, Bible, Journal.
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Faye Bryant is an author, coach, and speaker who helps individuals escape the lies of the enemy, live into God’s truth, and build a better life by first feeling, dealing, and healing their way through a stuck future or an abused past, toward a deeper path of purpose, and into the unhackable life of their chosen legacy. Hers is a story of resurrection: from death to life!