For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
We are first and foremost forgiven by God and the pain that we would suffer if we hadn’t received forgiveness, which cannot even be explained by words (Rev. 20:12-15). Incredibly, Jesus took on the punishment we deserved by paying a debt He did not owe for a debt we could never pay in a million lifetimes. Our Father forgave us on the day we repented and put our trust in His Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16-17), by His Son’s death for us (Rom. 5:8), having been reconciled to God by Jesus’ torturous death on the cross (Rom 5:10). Could forgiving someone in our life help us overcome a current pain? God’s forgiveness helped us avoid the eternal pain of hell, so why not forgive others?
Jesus tells us that if we forgive others, then God will forgive us, but this same statement goes on with a serious warning that if we don’t forgive others, then God will not forgive us (Matt. 6:15). Peter thought that the number of times we could forgive others was limited, but Jesus said it wasn’t (Matt. 18:21). If we do not forgive others, this might indicate an unforgiving heart. Jesus warns us that our forgiveness is tied to our forgiving others, but it must come from the heart and not be just an outward show (Matt. 18:35). Think about how much we have been forgiven! We have had all of our sins wiped clean. Though our sins be as scarlet, they can be made white as snow. Though they are red as blood, we can be made white as wool (Isaiah 1:18). So why shouldn’t we forgive others for much, much less than they have done to us because God’s forgiveness is so much greater? Could forgiving someone in your life help you overcome a current pain in your life? I would think so.
If you have forgiven others, then you must also learn to forgive yourself. I have spoken with so many over the years who cannot forgive themselves, but there’s something wrong about that. If God promises to forgive us all of our sins (1 John 1:9), are we going to hold our standard of forgiving ourselves higher than God’s standard? That’s exactly what we do when we can’t forgive ourselves and we keep that pain of a feeling of unforgiveness in our life, which causes great guilt, shame, and pain. So again I ask the rhetorical question: Could forgiving someone in your life help you overcome a current pain in your life? What if that someone were you? If a person repents and trusts in Christ, they have the same righteousness as Christ does (2 Cor. 5:21). So why not believe God and stop trusting your feelings because human feelings are the most untrustworthy of all things.
A Closing Prayer
Father, please give me a tender heart so that I can forgive others since I have been forgiven so much more by the blood of the Lamb of God. Help me to forgive myself where and when I need to so that I can overcome the pain in my life, and in Jesus’ blessed name I pray.
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