Wednesday, July 18, 2012
But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Forgiveness is something that is not earned but given even if not earned. Everyone sins so we should forgive others when they sin against us. Matthew 6:15 says that if you do not forgive, your Father will not forgive you. Families of murdered victims have even forgiven the perpetrators that have killed their loved ones, because they trust Jesus. Others hold grudges for lesser sins like someone talking bad about them. Jesus died on the cross because the Jews turned against God, and He still cried out to His Father before He died, "Father, forgive them for they don't know what they do." If Jesus can forgive, then why shouldn't sinners like us forgive other sinners. Holding grudges and resentments just eat away at our souls until we are miserable and bitter. Forgiveness gives us the freedom from the bondage of bitterness and hate. If someone sins against you, in turn, be kind. It took decades for me to forgive others that have hurt me and it ate away at my soul until I finally forgave. Love those who hate you, because Jesus forgave those who killed Him.
Our pride gets in the way of forgiveness at times because we look inward instead of upward toward Jesus. Our self gets in the way of the path between us and God and we don't see that our flaws hurt others at times too. The pharisees looked down their nose at "sinners", when they themselves were self-righteous in what they did. They were pompous and pious and thought of themselves above "The Law". When we look at ourselves as better than others, we are sinning against those we think are below us, and we sin against God. When we put ourselves before others, we are also putting ourselves before God. We all have sinned, so therefore when others do us wrong, we should be forgiving. When we come to Jesus, we put away our old baggage and resentments. If we do not forgive, then do we even know Him who forgives us?
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
The next time someone says or does something against you, swallow your pride and forgive them. Don't let a lifetime go by with misery and pain deep in your soul because someone hurt you. Let joy rule your life and forgive. Isn't that what Christianity is? Forgiveness of sin by a perfect God? We're not perfect, so we shouldn't set ourselves above others who are in the same boat.