“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Right on the heels of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6 we get hit with this “forgive others” thing…AGAIN. I don’t know about you, but when the Lord repeats a command, I tend to notice. Why does He keep harping on this “tit for tat” forgiveness thing?
Here is a cutting commentary on this verse from the Precept Bible study website:
“The point is that believers who have been forgiven so great a debt against God, are new creations in Christ, with a new heart and the Holy Spirit, and thus they have the power and the call on their lives to forgive one another as they have been forgiven by God. To not do so is a rebellious, blatant, open act of disobedience representing a willful choice. Can we who have been forgiven so much not forgive the relatively small things (in comparison to our sin against perfect holiness!) done against us? We, of all people, should always be eager to forgive.”
As someone once said, an unforgiving spirit is the devil’s playground. I would add it’s the most anti-Christian activity we can engage in as Believers. Additionally, the cost we pay for it is high. Pastor John MacArthur points out four unpleasant results that we can expect when we fail to forgive:
1. It will imprison you in your past.
2. It produces bitterness.
3. It gives Satan an open door.
4. It hinders your fellowship with God.
I like how Pastor Chuck Swindoll puts it: “We are most like beasts when we kill. We are most like men when we judge. We are most like God when we forgive.”