For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. —Matthew 6:14-15
I love how convicting these verses are to my heart. They aren't just suggestions for how to live a better Christian life, these are the things God calls us to do - in all circumstances. We do not judge, we love, we forgive. They're not options for a true believer in Christ. Key to understanding each of these commands is that they are not emotions, they are choices. We choose not to judge because we have been released from judgment, we choose love because we are loved, we choose forgiveness because we are forgiven.
In any context, forgiveness always requires a choice. You don't just get past it or let it go. The emotion - the hurt or the anger - may fade over time, but that's not forgiveness. Authentic forgiveness flows out of a decision apart from emotions—in fact, forgiveness often happens in spite of painful feelings. As Pastor James teaches, it's the choice to release someone from an obligation that resulted when they injured us. It struck me this weekend when he preached that every habitually unforgiving person remains unforgiven by God and is not a citizen of heaven. God accepts no love from human hearts that is gripped by hate - that’s why scripture tells us to says leave our gift at the altar and reconcile ourselves with our brother.
If you have the habitual sin of unforgiveness in your heart, you should question whether or not you are saved. That should cause each of us pause and check our hearts. This verse says it quite clearly: if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. If we don't forgive, we are not forgiven - we are not saved. Saved people forgive - in all circumstances. Spend time searching your heart today for remnants of unforgiveness, He will reveal your sin. Our deceitful hearts have such a tendency to bury unforgiveness - until we see that person or the name comes up, and the bitterness or hurt rises with them. God will reveal those names to us if we pursue Him and deeply desire to forgive.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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