because of God's love

God Tells Us to Forgive
Day 4

by Gini Crawford, MSW

posted 12/21/2016, revised 5/19/2018

God tells us to forgive, so we need to forgive. Even when we have every right not to forgive, and I am sure at times we have every justification not to, God still expects us to forgive. If you are not forgiving, you are not doing to others as God wants you to do, so you are disobeying Him. Ouch!

In Matthews 6, Jesus Christ shares the importance of forgiving through what we call, The Lord's Prayer. In this prayer we are told to ask for God's forgiveness, and the prayer implies we forgive others.

Pray, then, in this way: "Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." Matthew 6:9-13 NASB®

In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus stresses again the need for forgiving.

For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. Matthew 6:14-15 NASB®

To interpret Matthew 6:14-15 accurately, you need to remember forgiveness of our sins is only given to us through believing in Jesus Christ, and not through anything we do, not even forgiving others. (Romans 6:23; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:1-9)

...everyone who believes in Him (Jesus) receives forgiveness of sins. Acts 10:43 NASB®

So what is the meaning of Matthew 6 when it comes to forgiveness? Jesus is telling us we need to forgive others because God in Christ has forgiven our sins. We needed forgiveness so God gave us forgiveness at a great cost, the death of His Son. So when other people need forgiveness we need to forgive them, realizing we have been forgiven too. If you won't forgive others, you won't lose your forgiveness from God. But when we disobey God by not being willing to forgive others, we are walking away from a close relationship with Him. (Galatians 5:13-26; 1 John 1:5-9) This is because God can have nothing to do with sin, and not forgiving someone is sin. You can look at forgiving this way; if you forgive others you are doing it for God.

Life Application

Before you were a Christian, you were a lawbreaker towards God, deserving His wrath and punishment for each and every sin. Yet, God loved you and forgave you for all your sinful acts against Him, by taking the punishment upon Himself. Read Mark 11:25-26; Romans 5:8-10; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 2:16; Colossians 3:13. Since God forgives and loves you so much, shouldn't you be forgiving others and yes, yourself?

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:4-9 NASB®

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