This article is going to be rather short, but I’m not sure just how sweet (“short and sweet”) you will think it is. There will be no fluff or warm fuzzies for you, either. Instead, we’re going to look at the plain, simple truth Jesus spoke when it comes to forgiveness.
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)
If you were reading this passage in a red-letter edition Bible, it would all be in red because these words are Jesus’ direct message to those he was preaching to in His Sermon on the Mount. They come right after He gives us the model prayer. I know there are a lot of people who try to twist the scriptures to justify their actions and/or who take things out of context, but there is no wiggle-room here. Jesus couldn’t have made it any plainer. Forgive or else. Or else what? You won’t be forgiven… or saved.
Jesus’ words in Matthew 28 aren’t the only scriptures that point out the fact that forgiveness isn’t an option for anyone claiming Christ as Savior. We also see this truth in the following passages:
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (Mark 11:25)
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 134-7)
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. (Matthew 18:21-22)
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)
I could talk about the fact that unforgiveness hardens your heart and prevents you from enjoying life without having to keep score, defend yourself, or avoid people or places because you don’t want to see “them”. But I’m not going to do that. Instead I’m going to simply say this: unforgiveness separates you from God and there is nothing so terrible and nothing that can hurt you more than the pain and consequences of that separation. So go… forgive and be free.
~ By Darla Noble
- Why Forgiveness is so Important
- Three Reasons to Forgive People
- How to Forgive Yourself and Move On from the Past
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