Forgiveness and unforgiveness

Matthew 6:14-15 NLT – “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.

Forgiveness is a lost art in some areas of society. People hold on to grudges and won’t let go. Sometimes for many years, sadly.

This is especially true in the online world. Small things get blown out of proportion. A simple slip of the tongue can lead to a hate campaign and people being deeply deeply offended.

One thing I have purposed in my heart to do is let forgiveness flow. As Martin Luther King, Jr said, “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude”.

As hard as it is sometimes, I have to remember people are imperfect humans who make mistakes. Jesus is the only One who walked the earth that is perfect. Everyone else is not.

Sometimes we have to admit to ourselves that yes we have been hurt or offended, but unforgiveness is not part of who we want to be as Jesus followers.

In the above passage, which comes right after the Lord’s prayer, we see that our forgiveness has implications for our own faith journey. Jesus said that if we want God to forgive our sins, we have to forgive others.

What? I have to forgive others to be forgiven. This is hard Christianity. This is where the rubber hits the road. But it is what Jesus wants for us. He wants us to let go of our pain and release forgiveness to others.

It is not an easy thing to do. In some cases it is impossible without God’s help. We have to be like David in the Psalms and be really honest with God. And then ask Him to help us to forgive and let go.

I know in my own life I have asked God to help me let go of long held unforgiveness and when I did, it was like a huge weight was lifted off me. I felt light for the first time in years.

How about you? Have you things you are holding on to? Is it time to ask God to help you let them go and forgive?

Prayer

Dear God, I do not want to hold unforgiveness in my heart. Please help me today to let things go. Help me to forgive those who have hurt me. I pray I can release forgiveness today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.