Matthew 6:14-6:15 If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive your sins. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Mark When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
Luke Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.
These are the words of Jesus (in red in some Bibles) as recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke. The importance of forgiveness runs throughout the Scriptures. Yet it’s so easy to hold grievances and grudges against those who hurt us, disappoint us or offend us. It’s so easy to judge or criticize others. Forgiveness isn’t easy.
The Matthew 6:14-15 scripture bothered me. Unless we forgive others God won’t forgive our sins? This doesn’t sound like a promise from our loving God. Yet it is. John MacArthur’s Commentary helped me understand this. He says this statement does not mean that God will withdraw justification from us. As believers in Jesus Christ we have “a permanent and complete acquittal of the guilt and ultimate penalty of sin.” MacArthur goes on to say, “Believers are to confess their sins in order to obtain a day-to-day cleansing.”
Forgiveness is God’s marvelous requirement to free us from our incessant need to judge others and our need to see ourselves as a victim. We must let go of pride and humble ourselves in order to forgive. Forgiveness frees us. Unforgiveness blocks our access to God who is holy. When we forgive our hearts are pure, loving, open and kind.
We thank you for your forgiveness which we do not deserve. Help us forgive others daily. Help us accept others without judgment. Show us when we are holding onto a grudge or a past hurt. Show us when we are judging. Help us be humble and vulnerable; help us forgive others daily. Cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We thank you for the freedom we have in You.
In Jesus name, I pray. Amen