The Call of Forgiveness
By: Chelsey DeMatteis
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” - Matthew 6:14-15
Recently, I found myself in a wrestling match with God. My feet caught between the places of forgiving or clinging to a hurt He’s been asking me to let go of. It’s been stirring for a while, but this time it was clear - my heart needed to move on.
I’m sure you’ve been in this place, wanting God’s best but knowing to begin living in His best, you’ve got to start laying down what isn’t yours to carry. Over these recent months, this hurt has wreaked havoc over my life. It’s taken the joy out of things I know the Lord was using to bless me, it’s caused issues in my marriage, and it’s caused me to stumble in my thoughts more times than I’d like to admit. This is what unforgiveness does. It puts the worst of who we are in our flesh on display for all those around us to see and us to feel.
Jesus talks a lot about forgiveness in the gospels. Reading those words, that were actually spoken by Jesus, holds a wonder in my heart I find nowhere else. When I began processing through the importance of forgiving others who have hurt me, I had to ask, “Why does Jesus talk so much about forgiveness?”
The first reason is the very reason Jesus came in the flesh. God sent His one and only son to pay the price of our sins so we could have a relationship with Him. That is the ultimate act of sacrifice - the gift of forgiveness. The second reason I believe He speaks of it so much is that we weren’t created to handle hurt. God made us in His image. He never wanted hurt to be a part of my story or yours.
Matthew 6:14-15 addresses that we must forgive others if we want to be forgiven. For me, when praying this through, I felt God pushing me to trust Him with the judgment and the outcome. Clinging to un-forgiveness doesn’t create a “judgment” for that person’s wrongdoing. It creates corruption in my heart and places me in a false state of authority. Jesus not only came for you and me, He also came for those who hurt us. Once we begin to see forgiveness as a gift from God and not a word tossed around with weightless meaning, I believe our hearts will change. We’ll see a shift in our lives because we won’t be carrying the weight of things in this world that were never intended for us. He wants us to feel His love in many ways, but in this specific area, He wants us to feel loved by ceasing to carry what Jesus died for.
Something really tender the Holy Spirit pointed out to me is that the Lord’s Prayer comes right before this passage in Scripture. If you’ve never read the Lord’s Prayer before, I’ve included it here at the end. Matthew 6:12 states tells us something similar to verses 14-15, but also gives the why behind the need to extend forgiveness.
Think about that with me. Jesus, who gave us the Lord’s Prayer, included the words, “forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors.” He said, “as we”, not just Him, or you, or me, but we. All of us need to experience this and extend it. We can’t bypass forgiveness. It’s the very essence of who He is and if He created us to be image bearers it’s time to start walking this out as a call and not a suggestion.
So, for me, I’m going to begin with the small things. Small as in the things God has already brought to the surface. Then through processing, forgiving, and loving the way He has called us we can begin to chisel away at the big things. The things stuffed deep down inside. The things that we can hardly imagine forgiveness scratching the surface. He wants this freedom in my heart and yours. Whom the Son sets free, he is free indeed.
The Lord’s Prayer: Matthew 6:9-14
“Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,”
You can find more from Chelsey on her website, https://www.chelseydematteis.com/.
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