14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,
15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. - Matthew 6:14-15
To clarify my thoughts from yesterday, Jesus wasn't saying in the passage the way to forgiveness is to forgive...what He is saying here is that forgiven people forgive.
If you are carrying the burden of unforgiveness toward others around in your heart, then perhaps you haven't considered all that the cross represents. If you struggle to forgive, then perhaps you don't really understand what it means to be forgiven, and you haven't fully accepted the forgiveness offered through Jesus.
The reality is that we live in a broken world, full of broken people. We're going to get hurt, and our loved ones are going to get hurt. This forgiveness thing is going to be a rather constant battle with us. God knew that when He was breathing out these verses. He knew we’d need a reminder about how much we’re supposed to forgive.
We will need to forgive big and little hurts all the time if we're going to keep pressing on. And that's hard. It's hard to let go of some of the deep wounds of neglect, betrayal, and judgment....of physical or sexual abuse. There are some wounds I can call up and still feel the drop in the pit of my stomach, or the welling up of anger in my heart, but I'm working on them all the time. Forgiveness is a process, and each time I return to the hurt, I need to confess that sin and let it go again. There are also past hurts that come to mind for which I have a surprising amount of peace about or that I’ve completely forgotten. I know that forgiveness comes only from Him, and from the repeated surrender of my hurt and my lack of forgiveness.
Jesus wasn’t saying we get forgiven by forgiving in this passage. He was teaching that people who are forgiven by God become more forgiving people—not perfectly, not entirely, but increasingly. If we remain unforgiving toward others, if we stay stuck in the habitual sin that defiantly refuses to work on forgiveness, if we downright refuse to forgive, it reveals we neither understand nor have truly recieved God’s forgiveness.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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