The Choice to Forgive
14For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,15but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. —Matthew 6:14-15
Let's start with this most obvious lesson in our verses today: we must choose to forgive. Forgiveness is a decision I'm making. In Matthew 6:14–15 Jesus said, "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But, (don’t miss this) if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
Now, sometimes a passage of scripture seems complicated as soon as you read it. That's not the case when we realize what Matthew 6:14–15 says. Jesus’ words are stunningly clear. Read them again above.
Do you get it? I mean, those are pretty serious verses, right? Not hard to understand—just hard to undertake. You read them and think, that’s gonna leave a mark! I’m going to have to look again at how forgiving I am. That's nothing you want to be messing around about, or sort-of getting it right. The verses aren’t complicated—but they will definitely complicate your life if you are an un-forgiving person!
And it's not saying that you get saved by forgiving. It is saying that people who are really are saved are forgiving people, increasingly so. Not perfectly, not entirely, but increasingly we are more and more forgiving. As the love of Christ penetrates our hearts more and more deeply and more and more genuinely, we just become more forgiving people. Forgiveness is one of the expected bi-products of genuine salvation.
You ought to be the most forgiving person that you work with. Out of all the people, when they talk about you, they're like, "Man, he's not a guy who holds grudges. He's just not someone who finds fault." "She doesn't try to make people pay, she just lets it go. She just moves on. She's not petty." "He's not a scorekeeper. He's just not like that. He's forgiving, that's what he is." That's what people ought to be saying about you. The more you get to know Jesus, the more it ought to be true in your life that you choose forgiveness.
- How has Matthew 6:14-15 clarified or “complicated” my life when it comes to the issue of forgiveness?
- Why is it important to realize I am not saved by forgiving?
Prayer: Dear Father, You are forgiving in ways that go beyond my understanding. Thank You for showing me that we cant’ begin to appreciate Your forgiveness until I practice it in a much smaller way myself. It is Your forgiveness that makes mine possible! Show me today where I can practice forgiveness more fully. In Jesus’ name, Amen.