Join the GROW linkup with Faith at Faith, Fun, and The Fergusons!! This past week we spent time meditating on Matthew 6:14-15.
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (NIV)
These verses are pretty hefty! Both verses seem to carry a "If, Then" statement. If you forgive others, then God will forgive you. However, I don't think Jesus was laying down a conditional statement. He wasn't trying to hold something over our head and make us work for it. The Bible makes it very clear that we never have to work for our redemption (Eph. 2:8-9). We only need to accept Jesus as our Savior, and then we get to approach God's throne boldly knowing we are a Child of God (Heb 4:16). Rather, I think that if we aren't forgiving others two things will result:
1. We will have a hard time receiving and understanding God's forgiveness for our own sins. If we live with hard, hurting hearts, what will make us believe we ourselves are truly forgiven? Instead we feel like we have to work for forgiveness, to make up for our wrong, until we see ourselves as 'even' again. This is not God's intention! Jesus came to Earth as the Lamb of God (John 1:29), to be slain and take our sins upon himself. If I may be so bold to say, in not forgiving, we are reserving judgment that should be God's alone (Ecc 12:14) and thus setting ourselves up to be equal to God. *gulp!!* Instead, we should humble ourselves and accept the Lord's free gifts!! Let us rejoice in being made clean in the blood of the Lamb! (a reminder to all that I preach to me before anyone else).
2. By not forgiving others we are committing sin! Jesus tells us specifically to forgive others (Matt 18:21-22) over and over. So by not forgiving others we are committing a sin that drives us farther away from God! eep! Cyclical. Having a hard heart creates a wedge between ourselves and God. What a bummer. Ultimately, when we sin, we are only hurting ourselves. The reason God warns us away from certain things is because they are harmful to us. --->that alone could be a whole different topic!
Major Takeaway: God tells us to forgive others to save us from a hard heart that will ultimately hurt us more than it will hurt the one we are angry at.
I am not downplaying anyone's hurts or trying to make it sound like it is easy to forgive. If anyone can hold a grudge, it is me! Half the time I don't realize I'm holding a grudge until I lash out :( But here, in these two short passages God tells us, me, how important it is to forgive, and receive forgiveness. I shared some brief, and very heavy, stuff today. Forgiveness is an important and vast topic. I am merely looking at a snippet in these two verses.
Before I sign off...take a peek at the verses right before Matthew 6:14-15....it is the Lord's Prayer! I think it says something that immediately after teaching the apostles to pray, Jesus tells them to forgive. But that my friends is another thought for another day :)
Have you linked up with GROW yet?? I'm jumping back in full force and can't wait to read all the wonderful posts talking about forgiveness. If you have any tips or resources on forgiving, share them below! We could all use help in this area! :)