Matthew 6:12-15 Forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who did wrong to us. Don’t let us be tempted, but save us from the Evil One. Yes, if you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, then your Father in heaven will also forgive your wrongs. But if you don’t forgive others, then your Father in heaven will not forgive the wrongs you do.
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We’ve been reading this week about dealing with the difficult people in our lives with the wisdom and the love of God. It’s not easy, is it? And we can’t talk about difficult people without talking about forgiveness.
Now, I think that forgiving people is one of the most difficult things that Jesus asks us to do. Although, let’s be clear, it’s not a request. It’s a command. Towards the end of the Lord’s prayer, with which you’re no doubt familiar, He teaches us to pray like this:
Matthew 6:12 Forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who did wrong to us.
That all sounds pretty good, although it does have a sting in its tail – which Jesus feels the need to elaborate on, just in case we missed it.
Matthew 6:14,15 Yes, if you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, then your Father in heaven will also forgive your wrongs. But if you don’t forgive others, then your Father in heaven will not forgive the wrongs you do.
That’s serious stuff. He doesn’t mince words here. Charles Spurgeon sums it up like this: unless you forgive others, you read your own death warrant every time you read the Lord’s prayer.
So, on that basis, can I ask you this difficult question? What unforgiveness do you have lurking in your heart that, were you to die right in this moment, would rob you of your salvation? Who is it toward whom you still harbour ill will, of whom you still desire to extract recompense, on whose head you still want the axe of justice to fall because of what they’ve done to you?
Today’s the day to deal with that. Because unless you forgive others, God will not forgive you.
That’s His Word. Fresh … for you … today.