Hard Words on Forgiveness
Jesus ends this section on the “Lord’s prayer” with a clear and unmistakable call to forgiveness. These are some of the “hardest words” in the New Testament. Here they are: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6;14-15
What do you think of that? This is not the only time we read words like this in the New Testament. Mark 11:25-26 says the same thing. In Matthew 18, Jesus teaches an entire parable about the need for us to forgive. I am not going to try to say that I understand everything that Jesus is saying here….but I do think that one principle is pretty clear…you have to forgive!
When we receive God’s forgiveness for ourselves, we have the ability to forgive those who have wronged us. I wonder if a lack of forgiveness on our part is indicative of the fact that we have not truly received God’s forgiveness? There is a clear and unmistakable call to forgive if we have been forgiven. When we forgive we realize the full measure of God’s forgiveness in our own lives. What is keeping you from forgiving? The answer, according to Jesus, should be “nothing”.