“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
A sunrise is like God’s forgiveness, new everyday, a fresh start.
Matthew (chapters 5 through 7) records the teachings of Jesus from the “Sermon on the Mount”. It is a wonderful read! Some of the most well-known sections are the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer, in which Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray, is in Matthew 6:9-13. How many times have we recited this prayer in church or on our own or for someone else? Many of us may know it by heart.
But, there is a “clause” after the prayer. Jesus gives us conditions for forgiveness. Sometimes we tend to skip over this part. But Jesus makes it pretty clear that we must forgive others in order to get the forgiveness that God the Father offers.
It reminds me of one of the ten commandments; the only one that comes with a promise. “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12 NIV There is a “clause” added. In this case a reward of long life for following God’s will for us. And the same with the forgiveness clause; a reward of God’s forgiveness through His Son when we follow His will and forgive others.
When we forgive others it does some marvelous things for us. First, as above, it allows us to ask for and receive forgiveness for our transgressions from our Father God. Second, it shows the world, or at least the one person in the world who hurt us, that God lives in us and through us. We can shine His light for others. Third, it frees us from resentment and anger and all the negative feelings that can inhibit our joy.
In all this talk of forgiveness, we can’t forget that sometimes the hardest person to forgive is ourselves. We all have past issues, regrets, mistakes that seem to follow us. Even after we have confessed and received forgiveness from God, these “sins” haunt us. My greatest regret is I passed up an opportunity to share my faith with my Dad on his death bed. I was younger, insecure. I talked with my Mom and was assured that my Dad was “saved” and knew the Lord. But I missed a chance to pray with him, comfort him, and just share my Savior with him.
It took many years to forgive myself, even though I knew God had. What it did do was spur me on to share the Lord with others as opportunities came up.
This week, is there someone in your life you need to forgive? Yourself, another who hurt you, someone you love, or one who said an unkind word? Take some time to pray about it and offer your forgiveness. Even if the relationship doesn’t heal, you will be blessed with forgiveness and joy.
I thank God for each of you! And I thank you for joining me this week as we look at the forgiveness clause.
Blessings as you give and receive forgiveness!