12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matt 6:12-15 (KJV)
Ouch! I don’t want to forgive her when she’s hurt me. It’s more fun to chew on her offense and get mad over and over again! But that’s not what Jesus tells me I need to do. I need to forgive.
When I stop to think about it, that makes sense. If you hurt me, I should be willing to forgive you. After all, when I hurt you, I want you to offer forgiveness. But it’s not all that easy to do. My human (sin) nature takes over and I want to write a list of all your offenses. That makes me feel justified in my anger. But is that what Jesus modeled? Did He write lists, or talk about how He was hurt? Of course not. He voluntarily went to the cross – just for me – and just for you. And He makes it clear that I am to model His forgiving behavior. I need some work in this area. How about you?
How serious is this? Can we carry a grudge for the day? The week? The month? Can we worship properly if we have chosen the path of unforgiveness?
23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Matt 5:23-24 (ESV)
That’s pretty harsh! If I am unforgiving toward someone, I am not even to give an offering! Jesus takes this forgiving thing pretty seriously.
As I was writing this, my sin nature took over and I thought of a certain unforgiving person. I wondered if that person knew this verse. It’s so easy to look at someone else and say “See! Told you!” while pointing out a Biblical truth. I need to find out what I have against that person, because clearly I am unforgiving too. What steps do I need to take to become forgiving? Yikes. Convicted by the Bible!
2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matt 7:2-5 (ESV)
This subject is uncomfortable. It’s unfair to me in my sin nature, but of course if God puts an emphasis on it, it does not matter what I think!
I need to spend some time making a list – a list of those to whom I need to offer the unconditional forgiveness modeled by Jesus. Take some time in the next few days to really look at your life and see where you need to offer forgiveness. It’s a necessary, and probably painful, exercise. I’ll see you on Wednesday.