"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 ESV
The other day, two of my sons got into a scuffle, like brothers tend to do. After I was done playing referee, I told them that they needed to forgive one another and to demonstrate grace (giving something to someone even though they don't deserve it). Of course, they didn't want to do this at first, but after a healthy discussion and pointing to Jesus' example, they knew it was the correct thing to do and they forgave one another.
On a more personal level, the past couple of weeks have been challenging to say the least. There have been a few occasions when I felt like I was wronged, sinned against and just kicked in the gut by people that I love and care for. So, I've had to look inside my heart, pray and forgive those who have trespassed against me, not an easy task to say the least. The question of genuine forgiveness is one of eternal importance. And why is it, you may ask, so crucial that we as followers of Jesus Christ choose to forgive? For starters, Jesus' statement in the text is quite a compelling reason, for "if you do not forgive others...neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." This is not a suggestion or His opinion, it's a direct command from our God.
So then, we had better make sure we are forgiving "our debtors" (Matthew 6:12). Here's the bottom line: forgiveness is such a central element to Christianity that it is an indicator of our salvation! Not that we are saved by any works of our own, such as forgiving others, but that when we are reconciled to God through Jesus our new life will be marked by grace giving and forgiveness. We should be known as people who are dispensers of grace. Our lives should demonstrate God's grace flowing through us. We must remember on a daily basis, the Gospel, the good news that our sins were exchanged for Jesus' righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), our wrong for His right, our injustice for His justice, our depravity for His holiness. God meets our rebellious hearts and pride with His grace in and through the person and work of Jesus Christ. Therefore, because we were extended grace (which we didn't deserve) we should also extend grace, and because we were given forgiveness, we, too, should demonstrate forgiveness to others.
So, is there anyone you need to extend grace and forgiveness to today, or someone you need to ask for forgiveness from? Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to bring to mind whom you need to forgive or whom you may need to go to and ask for forgivness from them. Then, pray for the strength to go to that person and either forgive and extend grace to them, or ask them to forgive and extend grace to you.
Posted on Thu, November 3, 2011
by Kevin Ibanez