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🕮 Matthew 6:12-15   Jesus said this:          

12 And forgive us our trespasses, as we have forgiven those who trespass against us. 13 And do not let us yield to temptation but rescue us from the evil one. 14 If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

If you forgive, your heavenly Father will also forgive. We must forgive if we hope to be forgiven. You do not have to be their friend, but you must forgive.  If you do not forgive, your Father in heaven will not forgive you.

Refuse to Forgive and God Won’t Forgive You?  Yes.

When people are saved by grace through faith, they come into a new relationship with God. God’s former enemies (Colossians 1:21-23) become His children. “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins(Colossians 1:13-14). When God saves us, He saves us completely and forgives us of all of our sins.

No one who is born-again has their faith walk with Jesus complete.  None are perfect and God knows it. In fact, it takes the Spirit’s work in our lives over time for us to resemble Christ. Some bad habits persist. Wounds need healing. Negative thinking needs renewal. Bad behaviors require repentance. Neil Cole puts it this way, “Sinful people produce great growth because there’s more fertilizer in their lives.”  While God saves completely, we cannot discount Jesus’ words. Forgiveness is a weighty issue. But, if unforgiveness doesn’t jeopardize our salvation, how does it affect us?  

Think about the relationships in your life: your marriage, your children, your parents, your closest friends. There are lasting commitments that define these relationships. But what happens when your spouse or a close friend offends you? Do you immediately part ways and end the relationship? Probably not, because more than likely we’ve also offended them.  Eventually, the offender will seek forgiveness, and we will forgive. We hope that they will change. They probably hope that we would change as well. If you forgive, your entire life will get better…and I mean every aspect of your life. Try it, okay?

Let’s say that your spouse offends you, but you don’t forgive. You decide instead to hold the issue over their head. How’s that going to play out? There will definitely be tension in the relationship. You will interpret what he/she says and does through her hurtful actions. She will interpret you through your stubbornness and lack of forgiveness. What initially happened, in and of itself, is not necessarily bad enough to cause a divorce, but the issue and the reaction have created a rift in the relationship. Unless you decide to work on forgiveness, the truth is that you and your spouse are slowly parting.  Unforgiveness is like drinking poison, hoping the other person will die (< Credits for that line: Joyce Meyer).

Now, think about your relationship with God. If you have trusted Him for your salvation and have committed your life to Christ, God has saved you. God has declared you as righteous (Romans 3:21-26) and has adopted you as His child (Ephesians 1:4-6). 

Out of His love, God doesn’t want to leave us in such a miserable state. God doesn’t want us to be bound by bitterness and resentment. He wants us to be free. We have to live life His way, okay?  We can only experience freedom when we’ve exercised His grace and forgiven others their sins.  While our salvation is not in jeopardy, unforgiveness causes a miserable existence. Freedom comes through generously extending God’s grace to others. Jesus said, “Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:8). Who has sinned against you? Who do you need to forgive? Forgive them. If you feel that it’s impossible to forgive someone, ask God to help you and He will.  Believe that by faith, please.

Who do you need to forgive?  Write down their names and pray for each one and forgive each one because Jesus commands it, please.  As you forgive and forgive and forgive, you will see proof that your life is getting better…and your relationship with Jesus gets better, too.

Question: “What does the Bible say about forgiveness?  
Answer: The Bible never gives a “dictionary” definition of forgiveness, but it shows us many examples of it and how to ‘apply’ it to our lives. It is particularly important to “Apply the Bible to your life,” please.  If you read the Bible and don’t ‘apply’ it to your life, why did you read it in the first place?  The ultimate truth is God’s Word, The Bible.  Everything you need to know for this life (and the next) is clearly explained in The Bible.  Unfortunately, many people don’t like God’s instructions.

The greatest of all example of all, regarding enjoying a wonderful like, is the forgiveness of God. Although the following passage does not use the word forgive, it describes the concept of God’s forgiveness perfectly:

🕮 Psalm 103:8–12: The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

It is important to note that un-forgiveness is a sin.  One interesting way to look at UN-Forgiveness is from TV Evangelist Joyce Meyer: “Unforgiveness is like you drinking poison hoping that the person who hurt you will die.” 

In the majority of the passages in the Bible that contain the word forgive or forgiveness, sin is also mentioned. 

🕮 Genesis 50:17: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly. Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.

🕮 Exodus 32:32: But now, please forgive their sin.

🕮 Leviticus 4:35: In this way the priest will make atonement for them for the sin they have committed, and they will be forgiven.

🕮 1 Samuel 25:28: Please forgive your servant’s presumption.

🕮 Matthew 12:31: And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.

🕮 Luke 5:20: Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”  < Click the blue links to see the scripture.

Credits: Part of the above is from www.gotquestions.org – Edited for content and space available by Pastor Ed Brady.