Matt. 6:14-15 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But, if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
This is a truth that we often do not think about. All of us have been wronged by someone at sometime in our lives. Whether it’s a family member, a trusted friend, a mentor, a teacher, a co-worker, or anyone else, we have been hurt by others. Some people are cruel by nature and have no regard for how they might hurt another. Some people hurt others and don’t even know that they did it. Regardless of how we have been hurt, Jesus says we must forgive them in our hearts.
How do we forgive people when they have hurt us, sometimes very badly? First of all, we must seek the Lord’s forgiveness for how we have hurt Him. Every time we sin against God, we hurt Him. Sin is an affront to God’s character. It offends Him. It is saying we don’t care that it bothers God. It is defiance. So, we must first deal with how we have hurt God and seek His forgiveness. We must admit that we are guilty and are helpless to get rid of our sin without God’s help.
God’s willingness to forgive us is tied into our willingness to forgive others. It is so because a heart that is not humble and merciful enough to forgive doesn’t deserve to be forgiven. If we aren’t willing to extend love and grace to others we can’t expect God to extend His love and grace to us. Whether or not forgiveness is asked for, we must forgive those who have wronged us.
Another aspect of forgiving others is forgiving ourselves. Sometimes this is the hardest part, but if we want to really know the peace of God that comes from forgiveness, we must be willing to forgive ourselves for the wrongs we have done. We need to let go of whatever pain and harm we have caused and let the Lord lead us forward. We will never be free in our souls until we ask the Lord to help us forgive ourselves and leave those things under the blood as well.