If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
—Matthew 6:14-15, NLT
These two verses in Matthew 6 follow Jesus’ instructions to his disciples in how to pray. Don't pray like the hypocrites, he tells them, who want attention for their devotion. Pray in secret to the Father, and your Father will reward you. Don't think your prayers are answered by just repeating something over and over. Jesus shares with them The Lord’s Prayer, and in the prayer, he includes this statement, “Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12, NLT). Jesus’ first comment following the prayer is on the importance of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the crux of His ministry. It is where sin washes away, and death becomes life.
Has someone hurt you? You can't go through life without someone hurting you. And when those you love hurt you, it cuts to the core. Unforgiveness injures you. Refusing to forgive imprisons you in bitterness and steals your peace. When you don’t forgive, you can’t experience the forgiveness Jesus has given you. When someone has hurt you, you have a choice to make. You can let the hurt go or let it tear you into shreds. Forgiveness is a decision. Instead of pain and anger consuming you, open your heart to the unselfish love of God. When you choose to forgive, you experience God's healing grace softening your heart again and again. And your own forgiveness from God is perceived in depths never known. You forgive as He has forgiven you.
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged,” Jesus says. “For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own” (Matthew 7:1-3, NLT)?
Lord, I want to experience the peace of your forgiveness. I'm tired of being torn into pieces. Please help me get this log out of my eye. I choose to forgive as you have forgiven me. You never thought of yourself as greater than anyone else. You forgave me with your life. May your love have its way in my heart. May I be free to love, Jesus.
©2020 Lynn Lacher