For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
The great author C.S. Lewis says that everybody loves the idea of forgiveness …until they have to forgive someone, that’s true, isn’t it? Forgiveness is a tremendous spiritual truth! What could be better? When we genuinely go to the Father with repentance, he is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). He “blots out” our transgressions from the record and chooses to forget our sins (Isaiah 43:25). David writes that God removes our sins from us “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12).
That’s great news! Just don’t ask me to forgive anyone else when they sin against me. I mean, I’m glad God forgives me, but how can I forgive the person who said those hurtful things? How can I forgive the person that derailed my career? How can I forgive my ex-spouse who has brought such pain to me and our family? Sure, I love that God forgives me for everything I do to him, but don’t ask me to forgive others for what they do to me.
Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. The spiritual truth of forgiveness must be understood, accepted, and applied. So spend some time reading and re-reading our passage today. Don’t let another person’s actions plant bitterness in your heart. God has more for you than that.
Father, don’t let us live with heads full of truth and hearts empty of action. In Jesus’ name. Amen.