““For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Mt. 6:14-15
If you’re reading this devotional, maybe you have someone you need to forgive. Maybe multiple people. Maybe you’ve been coming up with every reason imaginable not to forgive. Justifying why that person, or people, don’t deserve your forgiveness. Or afraid if you forgive, the person will hurt you all over again. Or excusing your anger and bitterness and hurt and figuring why bother forgiving, that person should suffer just like you are. Or feeling like forgiveness is just plain old impossible. Or convincing yourself you’ve already forgiven when your thoughts and feelings and maybe even actions prove you surely haven’t forgiven. Whatever the situation, whomever the person or people, whatever your reasoning, no matter the circumstances of it all, forgiveness is ALWAYS the answer. And here’s the #1 reason why.
“When you don’t forgive someone, it’s like locking up someone in prison and throwing away the key and realizing you’re the one suffering,” some people say. Is this the #1 reason to forgive? So we can feel better? So we can stop hurting? So we don’t carry the weight around anymore? So we can get on with our lives? In the world’s eyes, probably yes. But this is NOT the #1 reason why we should forgive.
What’s the #1 reason then? The #1 reason is NOT about us. It’s about THE LORD. And it’s ABOUT OTHERS. It’s about LOVE. It’s about MERCY. It’s about GRACE. It’s about TRUTH. It’s about GOD’S WORD. It’s about THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. It’s about TRUST. It’s about FAITH. It’s about believing in Jesus Christ as Lord, following Jesus Christ as Lord, living for Jesus Christ as Lord, and OBEYING Jesus Christ as Lord. And the TRUTH of the matter is this.
God COMMANDS us to LOVE, and God commands us to FORGIVE. He vehemently emphatically firmly COMMANDS US TO FORGIVE and goes so far as to say we who do not forgive will not be forgiven by Him.
Will we feel better when we forgive? When we truly forgive EVERYTHING someone has done, ALL OF IT, in our thoughts and feelings releasing it all, CHOOSING with Christ’s LOVE and Christ’s MERCY and Christ’s STRENGTH to TOTALLY FORGIVE that person, or people, we will more than likely feel FREE, feel AT PEACE, and feel LIKE A WEIGHT IS GONE from us, and we will more than likely feel READY TO MOVE ON WITH OUR LIVES. But this is NOT the #1 reason to forgive. God’s commands are NOT about SELF. God’s commands are about THE LORD, about LIVING FOR HIM, about LIVING TO LOVE AND WORSHIP AND SERVE AND OBEY HIM, and about LOVING OTHERS as OURSELVES.
We probably will be greatly blessed when we choose to forgive, but the #1 reason to forgive is FOR CHRIST’S SAKE. For LOVE’S SAKE. For GOD’S GLORY! IN FAITH IN AND LOVE FOR AND IN OBEDIENCE TO THE LORD!
If you’ve been refusing to forgive, or didn’t even realize until reading this that there’s someone, or some people you need to forgive, even if it’s from 10 minutes ago or from years and years ago, it’s time. Obedience to God is NOT something to be delayed. Love Him. Obey Him. FORGIVE for Christ’s sake, AMEN!