Friday, July 6, 2018
Forgive Others Because I Need Forgiveness
In review of Matthew 6:14-15 it says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (NIV).
Today’s verses are Matthew 6:14-15. In them Jesus says, 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.
In this passage Jesus gives a startling warning about forgiveness: If I refuse to forgive others, God will also refuse to forgive me. Why? Because when I don't forgive others, I am denying my common ground as a sinner in need of God's forgiveness. God's forgiveness of sin is not the direct result of my forgiving others, but it is based on my realizing what forgiveness means. It is easy to ask God for forgiveness but difficult to grant it to others. When I ask God to forgive me for sin, I should also consider if I have forgiven those who have wronged me?
Forgiveness is a two-way street. I can’t expect others to forgive me if I am unwilling to forgive them. Jesus says it like this: “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15 NIV). It’s a basic biblical truth. I reap what I sow. One time, a man came to John Wesley and said, “I could never forgive that person.” Wesley said, “Then I hope you never sin. When you are unforgiving, you’re burning the very bridge you need to walk across.” If I’m not forgiving of others, I’m setting myself up to not be forgiven myself. Here are three of the biggest misconceptions about forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not:
Minimizing the seriousness of the offense. Forgiveness is a big deal. To forgive someone doesn’t mean the wrong against you doesn’t hurt.
The instant restoration of trust. Trust must be rebuilt over a period of time. If people hurt me over and over again, the Bible says I’m obligated to forgive them, but I’m not obligated to instantly trust them.
Resuming the relationship without any changes. Forgiveness is not the same as a reunion of a relationship. Forgiveness is what I do if I’m offended. If the relationship is going to be restored, the offender has to do three things: repent, offer restitution where possible, and rebuild trust over a period of time.
It’s time to forgive those who have hurt me. I’ll need the forgiveness of others later. Don’t withhold what I’ll depend upon soon.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
What this means to me:
God expects me to forgive like he does. When I forgive others, my heavenly Father will also forgive me.
In summary, If I forgive, my Father will forgive me. If I refuse, I will not be forgiven. To not forgive is denying my common ground as a sinner in need of God's forgiveness.When I ask for forgiveness, consider if I have forgiven others. After all I will reap what I sow. Forgiveness is not minimizing the seriousness of the offense, or the instant restoration of trust, or resuming the relationship without any changes.
Father the ultimate example of forgiveness comes from you. It is the character you ask me to take on to be more like your Son Jesus. I pray this morning for your wisdom in helping me discern and put together actions to address the myriad of open tasks I have. Help me to communicate and respond in a loving way with others. In your Son Jesus name I pray, amen!
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