“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
These two verses come right after the Lord’s Prayer, and in complete transparency, they had me pretty shook. If I won’t forgive somebody, and God won’t forgive me because I won’t forgive, how am I gonna get into heaven?
Well, I know I have my spot in heaven because I’ve given my life to Christ, but I still wanted to research these verses (Google makes things so. easy.). Understandably, the Bible talks about forgiveness a lot:
1. “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
2. “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Of course, Jesus didn’t mean “77 strikes and you’re out!”. The parable that comes right after those verses illustrates how God will be with us if we’re unforgiving, angry and merciless, before ending with “this is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” It’s easy to stray from “WWJD?” if you don’t truly know His character, so instead, ask yourself “what did Jesus do?”. Time and time again, He forgave. Even now, He forgives. In a world that tells you it’s crazy to turn the other cheek, will you follow His example?
The message is simple. Anything God blesses us with should be able to flow through us to bless others, forgiveness included. Let your blessings be mobile. Whether or not the person who hurts you is interested in your forgiveness, forgive graciously. Holding onto anger and pain can do more pain to you than it does to them. How often do you sit around, confused and abused, while the source of your pain is off living their best life? It’s important to forgive quickly, before any negativity can take root.
So yes, we have to forgive AND forget. God doesn’t hold any of our sins against us; once we allow Jesus to present us as faultless to the Father, we’re seen as perfect. But if we choose to be unforgiving, burdening ourselves with negativity and ultimately living in sin, we only make it harder to have a good relationship with Him. Some pain will be hard to let go of. Some situations will be hard to get out of. But God can’t be where sin is, so don’t distance yourself from Him by letting it stick around. What’s an unforgiving heart to a forgiving God? Match His energy.
Does being unforgiving cancel out your salvation, no. But, we are supposed to strive to live like Christ after accepting His sacrifice, which includes forgiving quickly and completely. Believers will be judged, by their works, works that will be measured up against Christ’s example. Your sin won’t get between you and your salvation, but it will get between you and the purpose God has for you.
Don’t get tired of being the bigger person, of going above and beyond for people who “shouldn’t” deserve your time, your kindness. At the end of the day, are we worthy of anything? In a world full of hatred, make the decision to forgive. God loves you enough to forgive you, so let His presence in you and in your life lead you to forgive others.
be blessed bbys ✨