Matthew 6:14 “for if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
Jesus tells the story of an unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-35. This servant had a boss who forgave many millions of dollars of debt that the servant owed him. This made the servant very happy.
But then, this same servant refused to forgive the mere thousand dollars of debt his own hired hand owed him. The boss condemned the servant for being so selfish to receive forgiveness without being willing to give forgiveness.
Are you willing to forgive those who have wronged you?
Jesus teaches “if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).
Ask the servant and he would admit that it feels good to be forgiven. Guilt is a heavy weight to lug around. When someone extends forgiveness and harbors no hard feelings, we can feel that weight being lifted. It makes life a little easier to endure.
Can the same relief come from giving forgiveness?
Here’s the truth about forgiveness: it’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.
Forgiving doesn’t mean you accept the offense but rather you accept that God is the only true judge of the offense.
Grudges take a great deal of energy and mindshare to maintain. Forgiveness breaks those chains that bind you to your offender. Forgiveness frees you to live the joyful life God intended for you.
But most importantly, Jesus teaches that we must forgive in order for Him to forgive us. And salvation requires the forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ.
So while it feels good to be forgiven; it’s essential to forgive.
Like the worker whose boss forgave a very huge debt, Jesus paid the ultimate debt–even bigger than millions of dollars–to ensure our salvation.
Jesus gave His life for ours even though He did nothing wrong. The life of God’s Son is a priceless debt that we can never repay. We show our appreciation by paying it forward by forgiving others’ debts (offences) against us.
And it feels so good.
- What’s the biggest reason you would not want to forgive a person who hurt you?
2. Do you think you deserve to be forgiven? Have you apologized for everything you’ve done wrong?
3. What does it mean to you that Jesus forgave you by dying in your place when you didn’t deserve it?
4. List three bad feelings that forgiving would free you from:
Dear Lord, it seems so difficult to forgive. Sometimes people aren’t even sorry for what they’ve done. But then I remember that you forgave me even though I continue to sin. Help me to forgive too. Help me understand that forgiveness shows that I trust You to take care of the wrong. Remind me that forgiving my enemies is essential for your forgiveness and frees me from bitterness, hatred, and resentment. In Jesus’ name, Amen.