Why We Must Forgive

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For 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

It is said that Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself.

Release the trespasser of their sin against you or condemn yourself (and them) to live in darkness and be held captive by the past. Even apart from the teaching of the Bible, wisdom says we should forgive. Do not allow one thing or person to tie your future up in knots. That is not what you are made for.

GOD has a good and perfect plan for us all. He created each of us, with the skills and strengths He chose just for you… in order to fulfill the plan and blessings He has in store. Sometimes others selfishness and free-will temporarily collide with that plan. That is why brokeness and damage happen. Sometimes it is our own bad choices that inflicts pain on ourselves and others. Sometimes it is the conflagration caused by many others, almost in a trickle-down effect –  that seems to crush our spirit and our hearts. But in the end that is NOT what God wants for us. If we will trust Him, He will make a way to move us out of the wilderness of life, the dryness of our hearts, the parched spirit that has become our existence.

Look up to see the beauty of the day. The glory of creation. Do not look down –  because as we do, all we can see is that our feet are not moving forward. We concentrate on what has already been trodden. Look forward to see the path that God has already lay ahead of you. He is a God not confined by time. He sees the beginning, the middle and the end of our grand parade called life. He has made straight the paths if we would only choose to follow them. He is a lamp upon our feet and a light upon our paths. But we cannot carry the burden of anger, unforgiveness and pain into the new land – the promised land that He wants to lead us to enter.

This is why God commands us to forgive and why He has taught us to pray, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

We must forgive others as we ask God to forgive us. God knows to carry the weight and warp of unforgiveness is to retard our own journey. In this life and beyond. If we do not forgive others, how can God forgive us?

God paid the Ultimate price to ensure that forgiveness was possible to humankind in this world. He sacrificed his son, Jesus Christ, to pay the debt of forgiveness. Who am I, who are you to not honor the high cost of that action and withhold forgiveness from someone? When we refuse to forgive, we may as well deny the crucifixion of Christ. When we withhold forgiveness, we not only deny God’s will, we make a mockery of Jesus – that what He did for us was not enough. When we withhold forgiveness, we are playing god. Some of the last words Jesus uttered on this earth were about forgiveness, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do…”

Does that not tear at your heart? Humans are so short-sighted and small in our perspective. Don’t you think that the soldiers and the people who were responsible for putting Jesus on that Cross wish that they could take that back today? Now that they have had eternity for a perspective? They made very bad choices. They were caught up in a moment. They saw what they wanted to see and felt what they wanted to feel. Oh how time gives perspective; don’t we all know it? I know that there are a thousand actions and words that I wish I could take back…. But words and actions with evil intent are like the nails that were pounded into that wooden Cross, they can be taken out, but the mark remains and the damage is done. And that is why we must seek and afford forgiveness to others.

Today and especially in this season of Easter, I want to ponder the importance of forgiveness… because in the end, once we forgive others, as Christ forgives us, we will release our own hearts and the lives of our trespassers to personal resurrection.

God knows that humans sin… and that our sins will take us farther than we want to go, keep us longer than we want to stay and cost us more than we want to pay… And so he sent us Jesus Christ to show us the way to forgiveness, redemption and salvation. If Jesus laid His life down for us to forgive us of our sins – when we don’t deserve it – how can we not afford the same grace to others? And isn’t that the whole point of the Cross?

So pray to God and ask Him to help you forgive others, because

Forgiving releases the mind from pain
Forgiving releases us from the past and pushes us into the future
Forgiving allows us to heal
Forgiving now helps us to forgive others later
Forgiving grows our hearts
Forgiving grows our soul and our relationship with God
Forgiving means to trust God’s sovereignty
Forgiving is to be in Gods will
Forgiving is what we are called to do because Jesus forgives us.

and as I wrote earlier, when we practice forgiveness, it is indeed a gift to ourselves and honestly – to the entire world – because there is one less broken, angry person out there… You!

Amen and thanks to Jesus, Amen.

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